MĂ©moires

Le Programme a Ă©tĂ© crĂ©Ă© par la Fondation Azrieli en 2005 afin de collecter, conserver et partager les mĂ©moires et journaux intimes rĂ©digĂ©s par les survivants de l’Holocauste qui ont immigrĂ© au Canada. Ces rĂ©cits invitent les Ă©tudiants Ă  engager une rĂ©flexion Ă  la fois approfondie et Ă©clairĂ©e sur les Ă©vĂ©nements complexes de l’Holocauste et Ă  Ă©tablir des liens porteurs de sens avec les tĂ©moins canadiens qui l’ont vĂ©cu. En dĂ©crivant le quotidien des rescapĂ©s, les mĂ©moires font ressortir la dimension individuelle de l’évĂ©nement collectif, permettant ainsi aux Ă©lĂšves de donner sens aux statistiques. Nous sommes animĂ©s par la conviction que la lecture de ces rĂ©cits personnels et intimes, ancrĂ©e Ă  une comprĂ©hension claire du contexte historique, permet d’impliquer les Ă©tudiants et de faciliter leur apprĂ©hension de l’histoire du gĂ©nocide.

Ces mĂ©moires — publiĂ©s en français et en anglais — sont distribuĂ©s gratuitement aux Ă©tablissements scolaires et aux bibliothĂšques Ă  travers le Canada. L’équipe d’éditeurs et de chercheurs du Programme vĂ©rifie avec soin l’exactitude des faits relatĂ©s et propose aux lecteurs du matĂ©riel supplĂ©mentaire : des glossaires, des introductions rĂ©digĂ©es par des experts, ainsi que des cartes. Des ressources pĂ©dagogiques bilingues sont Ă©galement mises Ă  la disposition des enseignants qui utilisent les mĂ©moires dans leur salle de classe.

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Traces of What Was

Children’s Aktion and the Liquidation

It was at the end of March 1944, on a cool, bright and sunny day, the beginning of spring, the time of renewal of life, that the SS came to take the children. The survivors of the camp know it by its German name, Die Kinderaktion. It sounds so benevolent, like kindergarten or a children’s game, but on that sunny day they came to take the children to be killed. Why? Because they were of no use to the German war effort. The children had to be fed but produced nothing. There was little warning, but word spread like wildfire and mothers and fathers began searching for places to hide their children. Mother knew someone who had built a hiding place and so we ran there, but they had no place for us.

We could hear the commotion from downstairs – the Nazis were searching everywhere. What to do? Where to hide? We were standing in the corridor as people ran by us, with Mother holding Monik tightly in her arms, Miriam clinging to Fruma’s skirt. I told Mother and Fruma about the hiding place in the attic and we ran to the stairwell and up the stairs. There were people there, some rushing up, some down.

At the next landing was a little boy. I knew him. I don’t remember his name but he was about my age, but smaller. He was an artist. He made magic with a pencil and paper, producing amazing drawings of people, objects and landscapes. He mostly kept to himself, did not run with our gang and did not know about our hiding place. I asked him to come with us, but he just stood there in the corner of the landing, frozen. I had to keep moving. Once more I called to him from the top of the stairs, but he remained where he was, staring at me with his large, dark eyes.

Up in the attic some people with children were already hidden behind the beam. Mother, Miriam, Monik and I quickly crawled in and pushed the cut-out log back in place; Fruma remained outside to make sure it was even with the rest of the beam, then left. We crawled as far back as we could, all the way to where the slanting roof met the floor, and waited in silence. For a long time it was very quiet and then we heard the sound of heavy footsteps coming up the stairs, then the sound of someone in the attic, walking slowly, coming closer. Mother held my little brother tightly. No one moved. I held my breath. Would the soldier see the cut in the beam? He didn’t, and soon he was gone. For a long while we lay still and listened but no one else came to the attic. Slowly and quietly, we began moving from our cramped positions. I was able to look through the narrow space between the roof and the floor. I could see the gate and the area around it, a truck covered in dark green canvas inside the gate and a man in uniform standing at the back of the truck, facing a woman with a kerchief on her head who held a young child in her arms.

The soldier took hold of the child but the woman wouldn’t let go; she made as if to go in the truck with her child, but the man shoved her hard and wrenched the child from her and put the child in the back of the truck. That’s what I saw; that’s what I remember.

How many Jewish children did they take to be destroyed, their worth unknown? The boy on the landing might have been a great painter. But I never saw him again.

Sur les traces du passé

L’Aktion des enfants et la liquidation

Nous Ă©tions Ă  la fin du mois de mars 1944. C’est par une journĂ©e froide, claire et ensoleillĂ©e, au dĂ©but du printemps, le temps du renouveau, que les SS sont venus prendre les enfants. Ceux qui ont survĂ©cu au camp connaissent cet Ă©vĂ©nement sous son nom allemand : Die Kinderaktion. Ce mot semble avoir une connotation si bienveillante, comme « jardin d’enfants » ou « jeu d’enfants ». Mais en ce jour ensoleillĂ©, c’est pour massacrer les petits que les SS sont venus. Pourquoi ? Parce qu’ils n’étaient d’aucune utilitĂ© Ă  l’effort de guerre allemand. Il fallait nourrir ces enfants, mais ils ne produisaient rien en retour.

Nous n’avions pas Ă©tĂ© avertis, mais dĂšs que l’opĂ©ration a dĂ©butĂ©, la rumeur s’est rĂ©pandue comme un feu de forĂȘt. Les mĂšres et les pĂšres se sont prĂ©cipitĂ©s pour trouver des endroits oĂč cacher leurs enfants. Ma mĂšre connaissait quelqu’un qui avait construit une cachette et nous avons couru pour nous y abriter, mais il n’y avait plus de place.

On entendait le fracas en bas – les nazis fouillaient le moindre recoin. Que faire ? OĂč se cacher ? Nous nous tenions dans le couloir tandis que les gens passaient devant nous en courant. Ma mĂšre serrait fort Monik dans ses bras, et Miriam s’accrochait Ă  la jupe de Fruma. J’ai alors rĂ©vĂ©lĂ© Ă  ma mĂšre et Ă  Fruma l’existence de notre cachette au grenier et nous nous sommes aussitĂŽt dirigĂ©s vers la cage d’escalier, puis nous avons gravi les marches. Il y avait du monde. Certains filaient vers le grenier, d’autres en descendaient.

À l’étage suivant, nous avons croisĂ© un petit garçon que je connaissais mais dont j’ai oubliĂ© le nom. Il Ă©tait plus petit que moi alors qu’il avait Ă  peu prĂšs mon Ăąge. C’était un artiste. Il faisait des merveilles avec du papier et un crayon, des dessins Ă©tonnants de personnes, d’objets et de paysages. PlutĂŽt solitaire, il ne courait pas avec notre bande et n’était pas au courant de notre cachette. Je lui ai demandĂ© de venir avec nous, mais il est restĂ© lĂ , au coin du palier, pĂ©trifiĂ©. Il fallait que j’avance. Je l’ai appelĂ© encore une fois depuis le haut de l’escalier, mais il n’a pas bougĂ©, me fixant de ses grands yeux sombres.

Au grenier, quelques personnes Ă©taient dĂ©jĂ  cachĂ©es avec leurs enfants derriĂšre la poutre. Ma mĂšre, Miriam, Monik et moi nous sommes empressĂ©s de nous faufiler Ă  l’intĂ©rieur avant de remettre en place la partie sciĂ©e. Fruma est restĂ©e dehors pour s’assurer qu’elle ne dĂ©passait pas du reste de la poutre, puis elle est partie. Nous avons rampĂ© aussi loin que possible, jusqu’à l’endroit oĂč le toit en pente rejoignait le plancher, puis nous avons attendu en silence. Pendant longtemps, tout est restĂ© trĂšs silencieux, puis nous avons entendu quelqu’un dans le grenier. Il marchait lentement, se rapprochait. Ma mĂšre a serrĂ© fort mon petit frĂšre. Personne n’a bougĂ©. J’ai retenu mon souffle. Ce soldat verrait-il l’entaille dans la poutre ? Non, il ne l’a pas vue. Il est bientĂŽt parti. Nous sommes restĂ©s pendant un long moment immobiles, Ă  l’écoute, mais personne d’autre n’est venu au grenier. Lentement et en silence, nous avons commencĂ© Ă  nous dĂ©gager de ce lieu exigu. J’ai pu regarder Ă  travers l’étroite fente qui sĂ©parait le toit du sol. Je voyais le portail et la zone alentour, un camion couvert d’une bĂąche vert sombre Ă  l’intĂ©rieur des barriĂšres et un homme en uniforme qui se tenait Ă  l’arriĂšre du vĂ©hicule face Ă  une femme avec un foulard sur la tĂȘte et un jeune enfant dans les bras.

Le soldat s’est emparĂ© de l’enfant, mais la femme refusait de le lĂącher. Elle a fait mine d’entrer dans le camion avec son petit, mais l’homme l’a repoussĂ©e brutalement avant de lui arracher l’enfant des bras pour le placer Ă  l’arriĂšre. VoilĂ  ce que j’ai vu. VoilĂ  ce dont je me souviens.

Combien d’enfants juifs ont-ils emmenĂ©s pour les anĂ©antir, sans qu’on sache ce qu’ils auraient pu devenir ? Le petit garçon sur le palier aurait pu ĂȘtre un grand peintre, mais je ne l’ai jamais revu.

Arrival at Auschwitz

Dignity Endures

We were pulled down from the cattle cars and the selection began. On the platform, excellent music played by inmates in striped uniforms welcomed us. By the fence, Nazi soldiers were waiting for the sick and feeble, promising to take them to the hospital right away. Another lie. They were thrown into what looked like ambulances, and we found out later that they had been immediately taken to the gas chambers and gassed instantly. Next came the mothers with small children. The Jewish inmates warned the mothers with children to give their children to their elderly relatives to try to save themselves but hardly anyone listened and almost all of them were killed. A few minutes later, my father disappeared with my brother Shimon, and I never saw them again.

As I was standing huddled with my mother and little brother, along came a high-ranking SS officer, who we later found out was Dr. Josef Mengele, the Nazis’ infamous Angel of Death, and he started the selection among the women. He sent all of the older women to one side, separating them from the young, healthy-looking younger women. All those in the latter category went to the other side where they lined up, five in a row.

Her maternal instinct must have inspired my mother to do what she did next. In front of us stood four tall, good-looking girls, whom we knew from the ghetto. They were holding hands with three children, their little nieces and nephew, whose parents were hiding in Budapest. My mother pulled the children to her side and pushed me to be the fifth in the row with the four girls. “I will take care of the children” she told them, “and you take care of Judith.”

I started to protest and turned around to go back to her, but within a minute my mother had disappeared with the three small children and my little brother. That was the last time I saw her.

The End of My Childhood

In Search of Light

After the Nazis took power, they confiscated part of our house and gave it to German army officers, including a number of SS. Once, a German officer told my father, “Herr Doktor, wir haben das Krieg verloren.” (Doctor, we have lost the war.) My father was absolutely terrified. He couldn’t say yes and he couldn’t say no; he didn’t know how to react because it could have been a provocation. Remember that this was 1944, late in the war, so some soldiers might have realized that the war was not going all that well. But Hitler’s propaganda was extremely powerful and effective nonetheless.

At one point, the German officers told my mother and father that they wanted to have a party in our house and that my mother should cook for them and my father should help with the cleaning. My parents were not allowed to leave, and they were very afraid that the soldiers might get drunk, and then God knows what might happen. My parents told me to leave the house and stay overnight with some friends, and they also told me that if the officers killed them that night, I should go to a certain person who would help me. I still remember vividly that, at ten years old, I did not cry; at this point I felt like I was an adult looking at the world the way it was, not the way it had looked in my childhood dreams.

In early May, the second of the month, a high school teacher, an ethnic German, came and knocked on the window of our house and told my father that the next morning we were going to be taken away. There was nowhere to go, there was nowhere to hide, and so we just got up and packed during the night. But before getting to this point, the preceding months had been so terrifying that I don’t actually remember when I grew up. I just knew that over a period of a few months, I was no longer a child.

Indeed, on the morning of May 3, 1944, members of the Hungarian csendƑrsĂ©g (gendarmerie) came to our house, forced us to unpack and take less than we had planned — allowing for only one change of clothes — and put us in a truck to be carried away. In the truck, an officer noticed that my parents still had their wedding rings on and said that they were not allowed to keep them. My dad then took off my mother’s wedding ring and his own and threw them on the road. Interestingly, and very touchingly for me, these are the only things that survived from all our belongings. Everything else disappeared, but my parents found the two wedding rings in an envelope at the city hall when we got back.

The gendarmes took us to a ghetto in a brick factory some distance out of town, where, among the Jews, they were two of three medical doctors. When we got there, an SS officer took out his gun and, holding it against my parents’ heads said, “Well, if somebody escapes, I am going to shoot you, or you, or you.” I watched that, and the image is still vivid in my mind. But nobody had a chance to escape. It was just another way to terrorize us.

Never Far Apart

In the Dark

Ellen:

One day I no longer had to go to school and I no longer had to be afraid of the neighbour lady. In June 1944, a law was passed that all people who were Jewish had to move into segregated apartment buildings that were only for Jews. My mother had already sewn a yellow star on my coat, and we walked to another building, where to my great delight I found my uncle Latzi’s wife, Serena, and my cousins Hedi, Imre and baby Gyurika. Hedi, like her two brothers, had blue eyes and blond hair. She and I had lots of fun playing together every day. Every so often my aunt Margaret came over with some food, and one day she even brought my sister, Kati, who was never as much fun to play with as Hedi and Imre. My mother looked so happy when she saw her, and I was happy too.

What more could anyone ask for? I had my best friends playing with me every day, I never had to go to school and my mother was always at my beck and call if I needed her, because living in this new place she never had to go out, so she never left me alone in the apartment. It was a dream come true.

Soon enough, the dream turned into a nightmare. All the grown-ups became very upset. They started to pack everything they had into one suitcase. My aunt Serena sent word to her husband that our building was to be evacuated and everyone who lived there was going to a new location. My mother, too, was troubled. She did not say anything, but I could tell. To my surprise, my uncle Latzi showed up, bringing my sister with him. He said that he would take us children with him and keep us safe. I was torn from my mother and we left, walking in the darkness to a place where children were supposed to be safe.

Uncle Latzi took us to a building that had a sign with a red cross. I knew about the Red Cross. They helped people. After my uncle left us there, our heads were shaved so we wouldn’t get lice, and we were shown where we could sleep on a mat in one of the large rooms, with lots of other children. We were also given something to eat, though I don’t recall what. All I remember is being hungry. But I wasn’t too scared, because my sister was with me, and I knew that she would make sure that I was safe. We must have been there for at least a few months. Hedi looked after her brothers, and I stayed by Kati’s side all the time. It was cold there, but not as cold as outside. When it was dark, and even in the daytime, we huddled next to each other on the mat to keep warm. I don’t recollect anyone playing or singing, but some of the children made scary sounds from their throats because they were deaf. I had warm enough clothes on, but my shoes had holes in them, which my mother had covered up on the inside with cardboard. This didn’t matter to me until we were made to walk outdoors when men with guns came to the building. They were angry looking and had sharp bayonets attached to these guns, so they could both shoot and stab with them. The sight was threatening and frightful.

We all lined up outside in the dark. A Red Cross nurse told Hedi that she could hide our baby cousin because he had blue eyes and blond roots, he wasn’t circumcised and he hadn’t yet learned to talk. Hedi trusted this lady, who seemed kind, although she was a stranger to us and we never even knew her name. The lady went away with Gyurika before the soldiers could see her. Then we were marched away from the building of safety, going where, we didn’t know. I held on to Kati because I had a hard time walking. The cardboard covering one of the holes in my shoes let in the slush, and when the snow stuck to it and froze, it made that shoe higher than the other. We could not stop to scrape off the ice. Hungry, scared and freezing, I marched alongside my sister, limping as if I had one leg longer than the other.

Kitty:

It seems that members of the Nazi-approved Arrow Cross Party had decided to march us children into an enclosed area called the ghetto. The Budapest ghetto was established on November 29, 1944, in the last months of the war, when Germany and Hungary were in a life-and-death struggle with the Allies. Nevertheless, even in those desperate times the Nazis were still determined to finish the job of killing all the Jews of Europe in a process called the “Final Solution.” To that end, they collected all the remaining Jews of Hungary, those not in hiding or protected by some neutral government like Sweden, and placed them in an area separated from the non-Jewish population. Guarding them with armed soldiers, enclosing them within stone walls and fences, the Nazis made sure that no food could go in and nobody could come out. By keeping the Jews completely cut off from the world, it was easy for the Nazis to continue moving large, defenceless groups of people from this holding tank of misery to slave labour camps, where the Jews were used, if capable, for providing much needed labour that would free up men in the general population to be soldiers.

The people remaining inside the ghetto received no humanitarian services. Surrounded by garbage and excrement, crowded together, the starved and weakened children and the elderly easily fell sick from typhoid and other diseases. Many died horribly. They were left out in the streets, or in areas not as plainly seen.

After Ilonka and I were shown to an apartment in a building, we stayed inside with one group of children, huddling because of the cold. Hedi and Imre were separated from us and put into another apartment, and I lost sight of them. Years later, I found out that my cousin Imre had decided to explore his unfamiliar surroundings. As he walked into a bombed, half-destroyed stairway, he stumbled and fell on top of a dead man. I don’t think he ever got over it.

I was aware of the scary situation we were in, but unlike Ilonka, I did not feel scared. In fact, I did not feel much of anything at all, except cold and hungry. As I lay beside Ilonka, I thought of all the food I had refused to eat when my sweet and caring mother had tried to get me well, but I did not think of my father or my mother or my aunt Margaret being marched away, possibly to their deaths. I just daydreamed about food and wished that it could be warmer in the apartment in the middle of a harsh December.

I hunted around the apartment and found a closet full of abandoned clothes. Since we had no blankets, I put on layers of them and went to sleep. In the middle of the night, I awoke with a terrible itch all over my body. When daylight came and I looked at the clothes I had found, I saw they were full of bugs and eggs. That is when my feelings broke through. On my own, without adults, degraded by the filth and by the bugs that attacked my body, I bowed my shaved head in despair and started to sob uncontrollably. Then I had to stop so as not to frighten my already terrified sister.

Unies dans l’épreuve

Dans les ténÚbres

Ellen :

Du jour au lendemain, je ne suis plus allĂ©e Ă  l’école et, de ce fait, je n’ai plus Ă©tĂ© victime des intimidations de la voisine. En juin 1944, une loi a obligĂ© tous les Juifs Ă  emmĂ©nager dans des immeubles qui leur Ă©taient exclusivement rĂ©servĂ©s. Ma mĂšre avait dĂ©jĂ  cousu une Ă©toile jaune sur mon manteau et nous sommes allĂ©es Ă  pied jusqu’à un autre bĂątiment oĂč, Ă  ma grande joie, nous avons retrouvĂ© la femme de mon oncle Latzi, Serena, et mes cousins Hedi, Imre et Gyurka, le bĂ©bĂ©. Hedi avait les yeux bleus et les cheveux blonds, comme ses deux frĂšres. Elle et moi nous amusions beaucoup lors de nos jeux quotidiens. De temps en temps, ma tante Margaret venait nous apporter de la nourriture et, une fois, elle a mĂȘme amenĂ© ma sƓur Kati, mais je ne m’amusais pas autant avec elle qu’avec Hedi et Imre. Ma mĂšre semblait trĂšs heureuse quand elle l’a vue et je l’étais aussi.

Que pouvait-on demander de plus ? Chaque jour, je jouais avec mes meilleurs amis, je n’allais jamais Ă  l’école et ma mĂšre Ă©tait toujours Ă  ma disposition. Elle n’avait jamais Ă  sortir depuis qu’elle vivait dans ce nouvel endroit, et elle ne me laissait donc jamais seule dans l’appartement. C’était le rĂȘve !

Mais bientĂŽt, le rĂȘve a tournĂ© au cauchemar. D’un coup, les adultes sont devenus trĂšs inquiets. Ils ont commencĂ© Ă  empiler tout ce qu’ils avaient dans des valises. Ma tante Serena a envoyĂ© un message Ă  son mari pour lui dire que notre immeuble allait ĂȘtre Ă©vacuĂ© et que tous les occupants dĂ©mĂ©nageaient. Ma mĂšre aussi se faisait du souci. Elle ne disait rien, mais je le sentais. À ma grande surprise, mon oncle Latzi s’est prĂ©sentĂ© chez nous avec ma sƓur. Il a dĂ©clarĂ© qu’il allait mettre les enfants en sĂ»retĂ©. J’ai Ă©tĂ© arrachĂ©e Ă  ma mĂšre et nous sommes partis Ă  pied dans les tĂ©nĂšbres, vers un endroit oĂč nous serions Ă  l’abri.

Oncle Latzi nous a emmenĂ©s dans un immeuble qui portait un grand symbole de la Croix-Rouge. Je connaissais cette organisation, elle aidait les gens. AprĂšs le dĂ©part de mon oncle, on nous a rasĂ© la tĂȘte pour que nous n’attrapions pas de poux et on nous a indiquĂ© oĂč nous allions dormir : sur des matelas dans une des grandes piĂšces oĂč se trouvaient dĂ©jĂ  beaucoup d’autres enfants. On nous a aussi donnĂ© quelque chose Ă  manger, mais je ne me rappelle pas quoi. Je me souviens essentiellement d’avoir eu faim. Mais je ne vivais pas dans la crainte, car ma sƓur se trouvait avec moi et je savais qu’elle veillerait sur moi. Je suis demeurĂ©e dans cette habitation quelques mois au moins. Hedi s’occupait de ses frĂšres et, pour ma part, je ne quittais pas ma sƓur Kati d’une semelle. Il faisait froid, mais pas autant qu’à l’extĂ©rieur. Quand la nuit tombait, et mĂȘme pendant la journĂ©e, nous nous blottissions les uns contre les autres sur le matelas pour nous tenir au chaud. Je ne me souviens pas que quiconque ait jouĂ© ou chantĂ©, mais certains des enfants Ă©mettaient des sons de gorge bizarres et effrayants, car ils Ă©taient sourds. J’avais des vĂȘtements assez chauds, mais mes chaussures Ă©taient trouĂ©es et ma mĂšre les avait « rĂ©parĂ©es » en mettant du carton Ă  l’intĂ©rieur. Les chaussures trouĂ©es ne m’avaient pas affectĂ©e, mais quand on a dĂ» aller dehors, elles ont posĂ© problĂšme. Car des hommes armĂ©s sont venus Ă  l’immeuble pour nous demander de sortir. Ils avaient l’air en colĂšre et ils portaient des baĂŻonnettes acĂ©rĂ©es Ă  leurs fusils, ce qui fait qu’ils pouvaient aussi bien tirer que poignarder. Ils Ă©taient aussi effrayants que menaçants.

Dehors, nous nous sommes mis tous en rang dans la nuit obscure. Une infirmiĂšre de la Croix-Rouge a chuchotĂ© Ă  Hedi que ce serait facile de mettre le bĂ©bĂ© Ă  l’abri et qu’elle s’en chargerait, car il avait les yeux bleus, les cheveux blonds, n’était pas circoncis et ne savait pas encore parler. Hedi a fait confiance Ă  cette femme qui semblait bienveillante, bien qu’en rĂ©alitĂ© nous ne la connaissions pas du tout. D’ailleurs, nous n’avons jamais appris son nom. Elle a emportĂ© Gyurika pendant que les soldats avaient le dos tournĂ©. Ensuite, on nous a donnĂ© l’ordre de marche et nous avons quittĂ© l’immeuble oĂč nous avions Ă©tĂ© en sĂ©curitĂ©, en route vers une destination inconnue. Je m’accrochais Ă  Kati, car j’avais du mal Ă  marcher. Le carton couvrant un des trous de mes semelles est devenu mouillĂ© dans la boue, puis la neige s’y est attachĂ©e et a gelĂ©, rendant la semelle de cette chaussure plus Ă©paisse que l’autre. Nous ne pouvions pas nous arrĂȘter pour racler la neige accumulĂ©e. J’avais faim, j’avais peur et j’étais transie de froid ; je marchais Ă  cĂŽtĂ© de ma sƓur en boitant comme si j’avais une jambe plus courte que l’autre.

Kitty :

Les membres du parti des Croix flĂ©chĂ©es, d’inspiration nazie, semblaient avoir dĂ©cidĂ© de conduire les enfants dans l’enclave fermĂ©e du Ghetto. À Budapest, le Ghetto a Ă©tĂ© Ă©tabli le 29 novembre 1944, durant les derniers mois de la guerre, alors que l’Allemagne et la Hongrie Ă©taient engagĂ©es dans un affrontement sans merci contre les AlliĂ©s. NĂ©anmoins, malgrĂ© une situation dĂ©sespĂ©rĂ©e, les nazis Ă©taient toujours aussi dĂ©cidĂ©s Ă  achever de dĂ©truire les Juifs d’Europe, selon la ligne directrice de leur projet d’annihilation, la tristement cĂ©lĂšbre « Solution finale ».

Dans ce but, ils rassemblaient tous les Juifs de Hongrie qui restaient, ceux qui ne s’étaient pas cachĂ©s ou qui n’étaient pas protĂ©gĂ©s par un gouvernement neutre, comme celui de la SuĂšde, et ils les parquaient dans une zone qui les tenait sĂ©parĂ©s de la population non juive. Les nazis avaient placĂ© des soldats armĂ©s pour les garder, et clĂŽturĂ© l’endroit au moyen d’une enceinte en brique et en bois. Ils s’assuraient en outre qu’aucune nourriture ne pouvait y entrer et que personne ne pouvait en sortir. Les Juifs Ă©tant complĂštement coupĂ©s du monde, les nazis pouvaient plus facilement rassembler de grands groupes d’individus sans dĂ©fense, pris dans ce rĂ©servoir de misĂšre, et les envoyer comme esclaves aux camps de travail. Ces dĂ©tenus, du moins ceux qui en Ă©taient capables, accomplissaient les travaux essentiels, permettant ainsi aux non-Juifs de servir dans l’armĂ©e.

Les gens Ă  l’intĂ©rieur du Ghetto ne recevaient aucun secours. EntourĂ©s de dĂ©chets et d’excrĂ©ments, entassĂ©s les uns sur les autres, affamĂ©s et affaiblis, les enfants et les personnes ĂągĂ©es attrapaient facilement la typhoĂŻde et d’autres maladies. Beaucoup sont morts de façon horrible, abandonnĂ©s dans les rues et recoins du Ghetto.

Ilonka et moi avons Ă©tĂ© conduites Ă  un immeuble, dans un appartement oĂč nous sommes restĂ©es avec un groupe d’enfants, blottis les uns contre les autres pour nous protĂ©ger du froid. Hedi et Imre ont Ă©tĂ© sĂ©parĂ©s de nous et emmenĂ©s dans un autre logement, et j’ai perdu leur trace. Beaucoup plus tard, j’ai appris que mon cousin Imre avait dĂ©cidĂ© d’explorer son nouvel environnement et, en montant un escalier Ă  moitiĂ© dĂ©truit par les bombardements, il avait trĂ©buchĂ© et Ă©tait tombĂ© sur le corps d’un homme mort. Je crois qu’il ne s’en est jamais remis.

J’avais conscience de la situation effrayante dans laquelle nous nous trouvions, mais contrairement Ă  Ilonka, je n’avais pas peur. En fait, je ne ressentais pas grand-chose, Ă  part le froid et la faim. Étendue auprĂšs d’Ilonka, je pensais Ă  toute la nourriture que j’avais refusĂ© de manger quand ma douce mĂšre si attentionnĂ©e essayait de me faire recouvrer la santĂ©, mais je ne pensais ni Ă  ma mĂšre, ni Ă  mon pĂšre, ni Ă  ma tante Margaret qui avaient Ă©tĂ© emmenĂ©s, et trĂšs probablement assassinĂ©s. Je ne rĂȘvais que de nourriture et d’un peu plus de chaleur, au cƓur de ce mois de dĂ©cembre si rude.

J’ai fouillĂ© le logement et j’ai trouvĂ© un placard rempli de linge abandonnĂ©. Comme nous n’avions pas de couvertures, j’ai enfilĂ© plusieurs couches de ces vĂȘtements pour dormir. Je me suis rĂ©veillĂ©e au milieu de la nuit parcourue de terribles dĂ©mangeaisons. Quand le jour s’est levĂ©, j’ai pu observer les vĂȘtements de prĂšs et constater qu’ils Ă©taient couverts de poux et de lentes. C’est Ă  ce moment-lĂ  que j’ai craquĂ©. Toute seule, sans adultes, rĂ©duite Ă  vivre dans la crasse et les punaises qui m’attaquaient, j’ai baissĂ© ma tĂȘte rasĂ©e et pleurĂ© Ă  gros sanglots irrĂ©pressibles. Mais j’ai vite dĂ» prendre sur moi afin de ne pas effrayer ma sƓur dĂ©jĂ  suffisamment terrifiĂ©e.

Escape from the Edge

It took us about half a day to work our way agonizingly down the mountainside, through the trees and underbrush, to the Doubs River. As much as possible, we tried not to slide down, so as not to tear our pants or ruin our clothes.

We had found ourselves at a spot in the Jura Mountains where the Doubs River runs through a steep but narrow gorge. The rocky bluffs covered with tall trees dropped abruptly to the water, but in spots a fringe of beach emerged beside the water, which we had made our way down to. The channel of the river along this strip was not very wide, but the water was deep and swift. On one side was France; on the other, Switzerland.

So we had finally reached the riverside, and no patrols were about. We could cross, but the river was wild, and I couldn’t swim. Piefke jumped in and swam across. I thought maybe I would be able to swim, that maybe fear would force me to swim.

I jumped in the water, but I still couldn’t swim and almost drowned. Clutching at some reeds, I managed to keep myself afloat and pull myself out of the water.

I was still on the French side. Piefke was already on the other side and called out to me. I thought, Holy God, I’m going to be caught here. The patrols would be coming by soon; I could hear the police dogs barking.

I scurried around and saw a boat chained to a metal stake on the bank. Could I tear the chain free or pull the stake out of the ground? Could I tear the boat loose? I had no tools, no equipment. I tore at the chain and pulled and tugged. I kept on pulling, tearing, straining. Almost anything is possible in extreme situations. I tore the stake out of the ground.

The boat was loose, but there were no oars in it. I jumped in and paddled with my hands. It was very awkward, and I could scarcely control the boat.

By sheer luck, I manoeuvred the boat into the middle of the river. At that point I stood up and heaved myself out. In one leap, I almost reached the other side. I scrambled to my feet and waded the rest of the way.

I was on the Swiss side and began to climb the slope. I had completely lost sight of Piefke. It was growing dark, and there were dense woods by the riverside.

I had barely made it to the Swiss side before I heard German voices on the other. They were shouting that the boat was gone, their patrol boat was gone. They hollered, “Wo ist das Boot? Das Ruderboot ist verschwunden. Etwas stimmt nicht.” (Where’s the boat? The rowboat is loose. Something’s wrong.)

The dogs were barking fiercely — so fiercely, I thought they were going to cross the river. It was rumoured that German patrols sometimes crossed to the Swiss side to pick up whomever they were after, and that the Swiss weren’t guarding the border diligently. I didn’t see any Swiss guards at all, but the Germans didn’t come across.

In the morning, I met Piefke high up on the hill. When we reached the top together, we lay down in the sun to dry our clothes, which were still soaked through.

We hugged and congratulated each other on our accomplishment. “We’ve done it! We’re free! We’re in a free country. We’ve put those miseries behind us.”

We had succeeded beyond our wildest dreams. Together we had managed to enter Switzerland in late August 1942 without any money and without a guide. We had crossed three borders in about six weeks, a remarkable feat considering we had done everything more or less on our own.

Going Underground

Dangerous Measures

One morning, as I was having my usual coffee and roll in the kitchen of the hotel, a fascist militiaman approached me. He told me who he was and advised me not to leave the hotel that day. I was completely bewildered. My mind raced as I considered whether or not he was deceiving me — what were his motivations? Was he stating the truth? I calmly responded that I didn’t see any reason why I should not leave the hotel. I did leave and walked about sixty to eighty metres when I was stopped and directed to go to a certain spot. The people assembled there were then taken in groups to a movie theatre nearby. We stood in line to be interrogated by a member of the French fascist militia. There were Jews in front of me in the line. Some were afraid to make use of their false papers or could not withstand the questioning, and when they were recognized as Jews, the beatings started without delay. The fascist thugs were relentless with their fists and boots. The louder the screams of protest, the more frenzied and monstrously violent they became.

It was my turn. The questioning went along in a quiet manner, though they insisted that I must have a Jewish parent or grandparent. My steadfast denial and insistence on the identity in my documents gave them some doubts, and they took me to a well-guarded bus with several others. I was taken to a jail where I was placed in a small cell. It was well into the evening when a priest was placed in my cell too. The priest immediately befriended me and started to curse the fascists. He also had some food with him and he offered me some; since I was very hungry, I accepted. We sat there together while he incessantly cursed the fascists. I smelled a provocation, so I interjected, defending them with the justification that they were only doing their job. He slept in the same cell as me that night, and in the morning he was removed. Once again I was questioned, but this time on the subject of anti-Vichy and anti-German activities. I applied my well-practised character of stupidity, and they feigned interest in my opinions on this topic. I had to sleep one more night in the solitude of the cell but was steadfast not to slip out of character.

Survival Kit

Searching for Safety

Before these tragic times, Jewish life in Humenné was vibrant and had three places of worship. The Orthodox synagogue where my father had worshipped was the most widely attended, with an impressive new building that had been constructed in the early 1930s. Long before the war, when the Jewish community was thriving, the synagogue had commemorated all of the Czechoslovak national holidays and invited local dignitaries, including the mayor and even the colonel of the local military squadron, on significant national occasions.

When Jozef advised me of what had happened, I dressed quickly, asked him to stay with my anxious mother and ran looking for the Jewish Council representatives, hoping for assistance. I located one man whom I knew fairly well, but he was very discouraging. He told me that a transport was due again and the police needed to fill a quota of one hundred people by that evening. He concluded that it was pointless to go after my father. I left for the police headquarters alone.

I arrived at the headquarters at seven a.m. The building was still, as if in a deep sleep. The main office would not be open for another hour. I searched through the few hallways and finally found the officer on call, a man who was not familiar to me. His face was expressionless and he appeared to be totally disinterested in me or my dilemma. I urged him to release my father so that he might go home to his sick wife. I could not have pleaded more passionately if I had been down on my knees. I heard myself claiming that he had been taken mistakenly, that he was a Christian and his presence at the synagogue was a mistake. I promised it would never happen again. The policeman looked closely at the clock hanging on the wall. By this time it was seven fifteen. Without saying a word he left the office and with his finger indicated that I should follow him. I waited outside the office on the stairs.

When I finally saw my father almost half an hour later, he looked shattered, still clutching his navy-blue velvet bag that held his prayer book, tallis – prayer shawl – and tefillin – phylacteries. In my father’s pocket was the certificate of conversion. The officer made no comment about the bag, or its contents, and paid no attention to my expressions of gratitude either. Maybe his thoughts were elsewhere, or maybe he was nervous. Lucky for us, he didn’t seem particularly dedicated to the requirements of his job. I only wish that more officials in his position had behaved similarly. Eventually, he said, “Go. And go fast!”

On the way home my father and I held hands tightly as we silently approached our apartment. We arrived to find Jozef still there, waiting, with my mother. They stared at us, unable to believe their eyes.

When I re-examine this event, and the many others associated with my eventual survival, I wonder what force pushed me. What prompted me to go to the police headquarters? Did I lack the instinct for self-preservation? Maybe I wasn’t smart enough to see the danger I was in. Maybe, like most young people, I overestimated my invincibility. I could barely endure the places in which I was forced to hide, yet when my father was taken, I threw myself into the lion’s den!

Trousse de survie

Trouver un lieu sûr

Avant cette pĂ©riode tragique, HumennĂ© abritait une communautĂ© juive dynamique et florissante. Nous avions trois lieux de culte, dont le plus frĂ©quentĂ© Ă©tait la synagogue orthodoxe oĂč se rendait mon pĂšre. Il s’agissait d’un nouvel Ă©difice impressionnant, construit au dĂ©but des annĂ©es 1930. Bien avant la guerre, on y cĂ©lĂ©brait toutes les fĂȘtes nationales tchĂ©coslovaques et lors d’évĂ©nements nationaux, on y invitait les notables locaux, dont le maire et mĂȘme le colonel de l’escadron militaire de la rĂ©gion.

AprĂšs avoir Ă©coutĂ© les explications de Jozef, je me suis habillĂ©e en vitesse, je lui ai demandĂ© de rester auprĂšs de ma mĂšre inquiĂšte, puis je me suis lancĂ©e Ă  la recherche des membres du Conseil juif en espĂ©rant qu’ils pourraient m’aider. J’en ai trouvĂ© un que je connaissais assez bien, mais il s’est montrĂ© trĂšs pessimiste. Il m’a rĂ©vĂ©lĂ© qu’un autre convoi se prĂ©parait et qu’il fallait que la police puisse remplir son quota de 100 personnes pour le soir mĂȘme. Selon lui, il Ă©tait inutile d’aller porter secours Ă  mon pĂšre. Je me suis donc rendue seule au poste de police.

Je suis arrivĂ©e sur place Ă  7 heures. Tout Ă©tait calme ; l’édifice Ă©tait plongĂ© dans un profond silence. Le bureau principal n’ouvrait qu’à 8 heures. M’aventurant dans les rares couloirs, j’ai fini par trouver l’officier de service. Le visage impassible, l’homme, qui m’était inconnu, semblait totalement indiffĂ©rent Ă  ma prĂ©sence et Ă  mon problĂšme. Je l’ai suppliĂ© de libĂ©rer mon pĂšre pour qu’il puisse retourner auprĂšs de sa femme souffrante – c’est tout juste si je ne me suis pas jetĂ©e Ă  ses genoux. J’ai dĂ©clarĂ© sans marquer d’hĂ©sitation qu’il s’agissait d’une erreur, que mon pĂšre Ă©tait chrĂ©tien, qu’il n’aurait jamais dĂ» se trouver Ă  la synagogue. J’ai promis que cela ne se reproduirait jamais plus. Le policier a regardĂ© l’horloge : elle affichait alors 7 h 15. Sans mot dire, il a quittĂ© le bureau en me faisant signe que je sorte aussi, puis il m’a fait patienter dans les escaliers.

Quand j’ai aperçu mon pĂšre prĂšs d’une demi-heure plus tard, il avait l’air anĂ©anti, pressant toujours contre lui son sac en velours marine qui contenait son livre de priĂšres, son tallis (chĂąle de priĂšre) et ses tefillin (phylactĂšres). Son certificat de conversion se trouvait dans sa poche. L’officier n’a fait aucun commentaire concernant le sac ni son contenu et n’a prĂȘtĂ© aucune attention Ă  mes expressions de gratitude. Ses pensĂ©es Ă©taient peut-ĂȘtre ailleurs, ou peut-ĂȘtre avait-il peur. Heureusement pour nous, il ne semblait guĂšre soucieux de se plier aux exigences de son travail. Si seulement plus de fonctionnaires dans sa situation avaient agi comme lui ! Finalement, il a lancĂ© : « Partez, et ne traĂźnez pas ! »

Sur le chemin du retour, alors que nous approchions silencieusement de notre appartement, nous nous serrions la main trĂšs fort, mon pĂšre et moi. À notre arrivĂ©e, Jozef Ă©tait toujours lĂ  qui attendait avec ma mĂšre. Ils nous ont dĂ©visagĂ©s, n’en croyant pas leurs yeux.

Lorsque je repense Ă  cet Ă©vĂ©nement et aux nombreux autres Ă©pisodes liĂ©s Ă  ma survie, je me demande quelle force me poussait. Qu’est-ce qui m’a incitĂ©e Ă  me rendre au poste de police ? N’avais-je pas l’instinct d’assurer d’abord ma propre protection ? Peut-ĂȘtre n’étais-je pas assez futĂ©e pour percevoir le danger qui me menaçait. Peut-ĂȘtre surestimais-je mon invincibilitĂ©, comme le font la plupart des jeunes gens. Moi qui supportais Ă  peine mes cachettes forcĂ©es, je me suis prĂ©cipitĂ©e dans la fosse aux lions dĂšs que j’ai su que mon pĂšre avait Ă©tĂ© arrĂȘtĂ© !

The Violin

The Ghetto

On the morning we were forced to leave our home, our farm and our animals, we awoke to silence. We had locked the doors and windows securely the night before and Bobby, our dog, had been sleeping outside. But Bobby was not barking that morning – I never heard or saw him again. At the crack of dawn, the Germans had surrounded our house and were waiting for us to get up. When Bubbie Frida stepped outside, her greatest fear was realized. “Get out, you filthy Jews.”

German police stood in our yard, pointing guns at us and shouting in German. My bubbie, who knew a little German, asked if I could go up the mountain and say goodbye to my friend. Strangely, they agreed. My bubbie whispered to me, “Stay up there. Don’t come back.” So I ran up the mountain to say goodbye. When I was ready to leave Mecio, his mother told me she would come down with me and ask permission to keep me with her family. The answer she got from the Germans was short and to the point. “No. Get out of here.” Hurriedly, my bubbie put a few of her dresses into a small suitcase and we were chased out of our home, forced to leave everything else behind.

As they pushed us into the road, my zeyde, who had remembered to take his prayer book, realized he had forgotten his eyeglasses on the windowsill. He started back to the house to get them. One of the Germans kicked him and he fell to the ground. As he lay on the road, another German pulled as hard as he could at his beard. My zeyde, moaning in pain, began to lose consciousness. With what appeared to me to be enjoyment, the German police continued to pull at each strand of my zeyde’s beard. When they had pulled out almost all of his long beautiful beard, they cut with a knife what they could not pull out with their hands. I closed my eyes and hid myself between my mother and my bubbie.

Hungry, thirsty and stunned, we were ordered to walk in the direction of KoƂomyja. As we stumbled toward the town, we were joined by other Jewish families. If anyone stepped out of line or tried to escape, they were immediately shot. My uncles took turns carrying me. At the time, it seemed a miracle that we all made it to KoƂomyja alive. There, we were reunited with friends from the surrounding areas and with Aunt Mina and Luci. I was six years old.

The KoƂomyja ghetto was located in the central part of the city, near the farmers’ market where peasants from the surrounding villages used to gather to sell their goods. This particular area and some of the nearby houses were ringed by a gate that separated it from the rest of the city. The non-Jewish families who lived there had been evacuated and given the vacated houses of Jews outside the ghetto walls. The Jewish families who lived inside the gated ghetto remained in their homes, but had to share them with Jews who were brought in from elsewhere.

Armed with rifles, the soldiers stood at the gateway, policing the Jews in the ghetto. We were forced to wear armbands with embroidered Stars of David on them. Our shoes were taken away and a strict curfew was imposed. Those who disobeyed were shot on the spot. For the first time in my life I knew what fear really was.

Le Violon

Le Ghetto

Le matin oĂč nous avons Ă©tĂ© obligĂ©s de quitter notre maison, notre ferme et nos animaux, tout Ă©tait silencieux Ă  notre rĂ©veil. Nous avions cadenassĂ© les portes et les fenĂȘtres la veille au soir et Bobby, notre chien, dormait dehors. Mais ce matin-lĂ , Bobby n’a pas aboyĂ© et je ne l’ai jamais plus revu ni rĂ©entendu. DĂšs l’aube, les Allemands avaient cernĂ© la maison et attendaient que nous nous levions. Lorsque boubĂš Frida est sortie, sa plus grande crainte s’est rĂ©alisĂ©e.

« Sortez de là, sales Juifs ! »

La police allemande se tenait dans la cour, nous menaçant de leurs fusils et criant des ordres en allemand. Ma boubĂš, qui parlait un peu cette langue, leur a demandĂ© si je pouvais me rendre chez mon ami qui habitait Ă  flanc de montagne pour lui dire au revoir. Curieusement, ils ont acceptĂ©. Ma boubĂš m’a ordonnĂ© Ă  voix basse : « Reste lĂ -haut. Ne reviens pas. » J’ai donc grimpĂ© le chemin de montagne en courant pour aller faire mes adieux. Alors que je m’apprĂȘtais Ă  quitter Mecio, sa mĂšre m’a dĂ©clarĂ© qu’elle allait me raccompagner en bas et demander la permission de me garder avec elle et sa famille. La rĂ©ponse des Allemands a Ă©tĂ© brĂšve et nette : « Non. Fichez le camp. » À toute vitesse, ma boubĂš a rangĂ© quelques-unes de ses robes dans une petite valise et nous avons Ă©tĂ© chassĂ©s de chez nous, obligĂ©s d’abandonner tous nos biens.

Les Allemands nous ont poussĂ©s vers la route et mon zeydĂš, qui avait veillĂ© Ă  emporter son livre de priĂšres, s’est tout Ă  coup aperçu qu’il avait oubliĂ© ses lunettes sur le rebord de la fenĂȘtre. Il a fait quelques pas en direction de la maison pour aller les chercher ; mais un des Allemands lui a assenĂ© des coups de pied et il est tombĂ©. Alors qu’il gisait sur le chemin de terre, un autre Allemand a tirĂ© de toutes ses forces sur sa barbe. Mon grand-pĂšre, gĂ©missant de douleur, Ă©tait sur le point de s’évanouir. Avec un rĂ©el plaisir, m’a-t-il semblĂ©, les policiers allemands ont continuĂ© Ă  arracher la barbe de mon zeydĂš, poignĂ©e par poignĂ©e. Lorsqu’ils ont eu quasiment fini de lui arracher sa barbe, si longue et si belle, ils ont pris un couteau pour couper ce qu’il en restait. J’ai fermĂ© les yeux et me suis cachĂ©e entre ma mĂšre et ma boubĂš.

Souffrant de la faim et de la soif, totalement hĂ©bĂ©tĂ©s, nous avons reçu l’ordre de nous mettre en marche en direction de KoƂomyja. Tenant Ă  grand-peine sur nos jambes, nous sommes partis pour la ville et avons Ă©tĂ© rejoints en route par d’autres familles juives. Si quelqu’un sortait du rang ou essayait de s’enfuir, il Ă©tait aussitĂŽt abattu. Mes oncles se sont relayĂ©s pour me porter. À l’époque, nous avons vraiment eu le sentiment que c’était un miracle d’ĂȘtre tous arrivĂ©s vivants en ville. Nous y avons retrouvĂ© des amis des alentours, ainsi que tante Mina et Luci. J’avais 6 ans.

Le ghetto de KoƂomyja Ă©tait situĂ© au centre de l’agglomĂ©ration, prĂšs du marchĂ© agricole oĂč les paysans des villages environnants se rassemblaient rĂ©guliĂšrement pour vendre leur marchandise. Cet espace et certaines maisons voisines Ă©taient entourĂ©s d’un mur qui les sĂ©parait du reste de la ville. Les familles non juives qui habitaient dans la zone ainsi dĂ©limitĂ©e avaient Ă©tĂ© Ă©vacuĂ©es, recevant en Ă©change les maisons, dĂ©sormais libres, des Juifs vivant Ă  l’extĂ©rieur du Ghetto. Les familles juives ayant toujours vĂ©cu dans l’enceinte du Ghetto ont Ă©tĂ© autorisĂ©es Ă  rester chez elles mais ont dĂ» partager leur logement avec les Juifs relocalisĂ©s. ArmĂ©e de fusils, la Gestapo se tenait aux portes du Ghetto et surveillait les Juifs Ă  l’intĂ©rieur. Nous avons Ă©tĂ© contraints de porter un brassard marquĂ© de l’étoile de David. On nous a privĂ©s de nos chaussures et un couvre-feu strict a Ă©tĂ© instaurĂ©. Ceux qui y contrevenaient Ă©taient abattus sur-le-champ. Pour la premiĂšre fois de ma vie, j’ai rĂ©ellement connu la peur.

"You Are the Only Hope"

Chaos to Canvas

I remember my mother repeated to me many times, “Try to save yourself.” And then, “I don’t know how. I can’t help you, as I myself don’t know what to do. I know we are doomed to die. Try to walk away when you’re outside. If there is any opportunity you might have outside, just try to save yourself. Just be strong, my son, and take a chance, and God will be with you. If you won’t take this chance, you will not survive. Try, my son. I am helpless, but I know that you’re capable. You can do it. Just try. There is probably nobody left from our family except for us. If you follow me, it will be the end of our family. You are the only hope.”

My mother made me feel important. She made me feel like an adult, a person on whom you could depend, like a man and not a child. She continued talking quietly and constantly. She was sure that if I walked away, I would survive, and if I remained with her, I would die. She urged me to save myself and gave me the courage I needed to continue living. During the entire war, and throughout all the unimaginable hardships I endured, her words were my hope, my security and my strength to continue living. Her advice made me strive to save myself and gave me the inspiration that I needed.

Later, when I was alone in the woods, I used to talk to God. I screamed at him in my mind. When I was in a horrific situation and needed to express my pain, I appealed to God. I wanted him to help me when I needed help: when I was cold and hungry, when I was wet and living outside in the open during winter, when I was sick with a cold or a fever or when I was injured. Who was there for me to complain to? Most people have their mother, father, a member of their family or a friend. I had no one. I had only God. Sometimes I spoke loudly, hoping he would take notice. I would raise my voice as I would with my mother when I was angry. The difference was that my mother used to listen and help. God simply listened, but I felt that at least I had someone to cry to about my pitiful existence. I was extremely angry with God when I was wearing rags and was alone and starving in the cold. God is a witness to my suffering.

The next day, my mother and sister and I were forced to walk to an awaiting truck — like cattle being transported for slaughter. Not knowing where we were going, we were panicking. Hundreds of people and children were there, and the police were shouting and shooting. People were hysterical as they were falling over each other and were being separated from their families. We could not climb onto the trucks quickly enough, so we were violently pushed, kicked and beaten with clubs. I witnessed two policemen pick up a child by an arm and a leg as she struggled to climb onto the truck and throw her in like a bag of garbage.

I clearly remember Zonia’s arms around our mother. Then my mother pushed me away from boarding the truck and insisted, “Now is your chance to run.” I knew I could not run because if I did, I would be shot. But I stripped off my armband and began walking slowly toward the nearby bridge. The bridge over the Strypa, so familiar to me, split the city in half. It was not a large bridge, possibly fifty or sixty feet long. It was made out of wood and was only wide enough for people, horses and wagons to cross. I started to walk across and was approximately halfway when I saw an SS officer walking from the opposite side. Immediately, I froze and thought, What do I do now? Should I continue walking?

Surviving the Unbearable

My Heart Is at Ease

SS men shouted at us to line up, yelling, “Go! Go! Go!” to move us forward. There was a huge factory chimney releasing thick smoke into the air. Some of the female inmates told us that people were being gassed, sometimes just lightly, before being thrown into ovens. There were bodies burning day and night. A barbed wire fence charged with electricity surrounded the camp. Later, a few times, I saw women jumping to embrace the wires, wanting to end their misery. We were given summer clothing, each piece marked with a huge X on the back, socks and Dutch wooden shoes. It was October and the sky was grey, the wind strong; it was freezing cold. The inmates who were there already were unfriendly – I think they envied us arriving later than they had. The constant shouting of uniformed SS women accompanied by large dogs was terrifying. We knew we were facing a horrible fate. This was Birkenau, a death camp.

We were ordered to line up to be tattooed. On my inside left arm I was given the number A 27635. Less than a week later, we underwent one of the now well-known selections done by physicians like Dr. Mengele and Dr. König. I was very thin and undernourished and with one wave of the doctor’s hand, my mother and I were separated. I saw my mother’s desperate face trying to follow me, but she was pushed back. I was alone.

Like cattle we were pushed into trucks, hundreds of us heading to, I was sure, the gas chamber to end as dust in the chimney. They took us into a large room and told us to undress. It must have been late, as it was dark outside. Women started to scream hysterically that we were going to be gassed. We may have actually been in one of the delousing barracks, not the gas chambers at all, but I was in a daze and, as I remember it, I moved to a window. I looked around; no one was watching me. Everyone was in her own strange world of despair. I pushed my small head through an opening in the window, and then my shoulders and the rest of my body went through like butter. I didn’t hear or see any dogs. I jumped down and ran. I had nothing to lose. I knew I had to get into a barracks. I found one and tried to get onto a bunk but they were all filled. It was pitch dark. In the middle of the barracks was something like a huge steam boiler. I climbed up on it to sit down. It was quiet. Suddenly, I got a terrible toothache. Then something heavy and alive fell on me and jumped away – rats!

Life started at 5:00 a.m. in the camps and the next morning I heard shouts from the block elders, ordering us to get out and line up for the Appell, the head count. I had survived the night, but I knew I had to go out and line up. I remember standing in line, stiff, freezing, but don’t remember anything after that. I must have fainted.

I woke up on a top bunk in the hospital with another girl next to me. It was the least safe place to be because it was the first place they went to collect people to send to the gas chamber. But I was weak and couldn’t go anywhere. When my neighbour saw that I had opened my eyes, she said, “You have probably survived typhus.”

The New Normal

The Last Time

Above all, I remember feeling fearful. The police and gendarmes wore terrifying uniforms with rooster plumes in their hats. I would literally shiver when I saw them coming. We watched what we said and tried not to make our presence obvious. Still, how could we hide? The Hungarians, and later the Germans, did not need a reason to make trouble for Jews; our mere existence seemed to give them the justification to hurt and torture us.

We were humiliated and dehumanized each day. The Hungarian gendarmes followed Nazi orders, rampaging through our streets, picking up people and demanding our valuables. They built a torture chamber in what used to be a beer factory. They would grab Jewish men, take them to be tortured and force them to reveal where their possessions were hidden. One morning, they grabbed my father and tortured him.

The gendarmes came to our house and demanded our valuables. They pulled my mother’s wedding ring from her finger; she had been too proud to hide it. They also ruined a treasured gift that my sister and I had recently received. Our birthdays were in the same month, and in 1943 our parents had given us our first watches. When the guards banged on our door in the ghetto, we pulled off the lovely watches, smashed them hard and threw them into the fire. There was no way that I would give them up to the antisemites. After the war, my relatives gave me a photograph of us wearing the watches.

Our schooling had ended when the ghetto started. We were deprived of education, while our parents and all Jews were denied the right to run businesses and stores. I don’t know how we bought food – perhaps the grocery stores were able to sell whatever was left. My parents did not want to burden us with frightening details. My father was sensitive and cried all the time when he saw what was happening to us. He had no answer. Nobody did. It was a tragedy that we had not expected. But who could have known that despite our current conditions, worse things were still to come?

Vanished Boyhood

Life Changes Overnight

Some time near the end of May 1944, my father found a gentile man who was willing to sell us three documents – his son’s Christian birth certificate, school report card and Boy Scout membership card. The documents were appropriate for me because the boy was around my age. His name was József, or Józsi, a common name in Hungary, and his family name was Kovács, a typical Christian Hungarian name. So my new name was Józsi Kovács; I had to learn the name well and forget my real name. It took me days to learn my new name, where I was born and my new birthday. My father bought documents for my mother too, but she still didn’t want to escape without my sister.

Although my mother wouldn’t leave my sister, she was in favour of me escaping the ghetto. I think she could foresee the future and the danger of staying. I prepared a small suitcase of clothing and the next morning I said goodbye to my mother and kissed her. She was crying as I left the house to get the streetcar to Budapest. That was the last time I saw her.

That morning, my destination was not my school, as it had always been in the past, but an apartment in a small complex in Madách Square where Aunt Aranka, Uncle Frici and my cousins Vera and Tomàs were temporarily living with Frici’s brother. Their family had left Újpest right after the Germans arrived, which had been easier for my uncle because he was blond with blue eyes and didn’t look Jewish to the Germans. He could go outside without the yellow star and not worry too much about being caught.

I stayed with them for two or three weeks, talking about where to go and hide. By now, Polish Jews in Budapest who had escaped from other ghettos or camps were spreading the word of what was happening in the death camps in Poland and Austria. We all knew it was only a matter of time until the Nazis started to kill the Jews in Budapest, too. We discussed the possibility of escaping to the countryside to hide, but we knew that we could not all stay together. My aunt and uncle and TomĂ s, who was only ten, had a place they could stay on a farm close to Budapest, but my cousin Vera, who was twelve, and I, now thirteen, had no place to go.

Une jeunesse perdue

La nouvelle réalité

Peu avant la fin mai 1944, mon pĂšre a trouvĂ© un non-Juif qui Ă©tait prĂȘt Ă  nous vendre trois documents : l’acte de naissance de son fils chrĂ©tien, un bulletin scolaire et une carte d’adhĂ©rent pour les boy-scouts. Ces documents me correspondaient tout Ă  fait, car ce garçon avait Ă  peu prĂšs mon Ăąge. Il s’appelait JĂłzsef, ou JĂłzsi, prĂ©nom commun en Hongrie, et son nom de famille Ă©tait KovĂĄcs, patronyme typiquement chrĂ©tien. Je devais dĂ©sormais devenir JĂłzsi KovĂĄcs : il fallait que j’ancre ce nom dans ma mĂ©moire et que j’oublie ma propre identitĂ©. Mais j’ai pris plusieurs jours pour y arriver, et il en a Ă©tĂ© de mĂȘme avec le lieu oĂč j’étais nĂ© et ma nouvelle date de naissance. Mon pĂšre a achetĂ© des papiers pour ma mĂšre aussi, mais elle ne voulait toujours pas fuir sans ma soeur.

Si rĂ©ticente que soit ma mĂšre Ă  partir sans sa fille, elle Ă©tait nĂ©anmoins favorable Ă  ce que je m’échappe du Ghetto. Je crois qu’elle pressentait l’avenir, et le danger qu’il y avait Ă  rester. J’ai prĂ©parĂ© une petite valise de vĂȘtements et le lendemain matin, j’ai embrassĂ© ma mĂšre pour lui faire mes adieux. Elle pleurait au moment oĂč j’ai quittĂ© la maison pour prendre le tramway pour Budapest. C’est la derniĂšre fois que je l’ai vue.

Ce matin-lĂ , je ne me suis pas rendu Ă  l’école, contrairement Ă  mes habitudes, mais Ă  un appartement dans un petit complexe situĂ© place MadĂĄch oĂč tante Aranka, oncle Frici, mes cousins Vera et TomĂ s habitaient temporairement chez le frĂšre de Frici. Leur famille avait quittĂ© Újpest juste aprĂšs l’arrivĂ©e des Allemands, ce qui avait Ă©tĂ© plus facile pour mon oncle qui Ă©tait blond aux yeux bleus et ne ressemblait pas Ă  un Juif, selon les critĂšres allemands. Il pouvait sortir dĂ©pourvu de son Ă©toile jaune sans se soucier de se faire apprĂ©hender.

Je suis restĂ© chez eux pendant deux ou trois semaines, Ă  discuter d’abris possibles oĂč nous serions en sĂ©curitĂ©. À prĂ©sent, les Juifs polonais Ă©chappĂ©s de camps ou de ghettos et qui vivaient Ă  Budapest rĂ©pandaient la rumeur de ce qui se passait dans les camps de la mort en Pologne et en Autriche. Nous savions tous que les nazis ne tarderaient pas Ă  massacrer aussi les Juifs de Budapest. Nous avons envisagĂ© de fuir Ă  la campagne pour nous y cacher, mais nous savions que nous ne pourrions pas demeurer tous ensemble. Mon oncle, ma tante et TomĂ s, qui n’avait que 10 ans, disposaient d’un endroit oĂč habiter : il s’agissait d’une ferme, situĂ©e non loin de Budapest. Cependant, ma cousine Vera, ĂągĂ©e de 12 ans, et moi-mĂȘme, ĂągĂ© de 13 ans, n’avions nulle part oĂč aller.

The Shadows Behind Me

Occupation and Loss

Shortly after the war began, the Soviet government opened its borders and many Jewish people tried to save themselves by crossing into the Soviet Union. But a lot of Jews didn’t go. Some disliked the Communist regime and others didn’t want to leave their homes and everything else behind. Older Jews, who remembered how well the German soldiers who occupied Poland in World War I had treated them, couldn’t imagine the German evil that would emerge in World War II. And many Jews couldn’t go to the Soviet Union because they had large families with small children. In our family, my mother was ill with arthritis and there were seven children, the youngest only five years old. It was impossible for all of us to go to the Soviet Union. In early spring 1940, my good friends Leon Monderer and Jozef Szarp went to Lwów in Soviet-occupied Poland. They went through the open Soviet border and found freedom from Nazi oppression. After they had found jobs in Lwów, they got a chance to come back to Krakow for a few days to see their families and friends. Before they left Krakow to return to the Soviet-occupied area, Leon and Jozef came to my house and asked me to go with them. They told me that they had a good job for me and that I should seize this opportunity to save myself from the Nazis. I had an impossibly painful decision to make. Should I leave my dear family in such a terrible time? I couldn’t be of much help to them and I had the chance to be better off in Lwów with my friends. So I decided to be free and save myself. With pain in my heart, I decided to go.

My parents agreed with my decision; they wanted me to save myself from what was happening in Poland. My mother packed a suitcase for me with shirts, pants, socks and a jacket. I was ready to go. I said goodbye to my family and my parents pushed me to go with my friends, who were standing near the door. “I hope to see you soon,” I said to them, but then looked back and saw my whole family holding onto one another. My younger sisters were crying. It was such a distressing image that I couldn’t leave. I put down my suitcase and told my friends to go without me. “I hope someday we will see each other as free people,” I said, “but I will not leave my family.”

Leon and Jozef were sorry to hear my decision, but they understood my feelings. We all said goodbye and hoped to see one another after the war. It was difficult for me to say goodbye to my best friends because I couldn’t shake the feeling that I would never see them again. But if I had gone with my friends, I would never have forgiven myself. I was so glad that I decided to stay with my family. I knew then that I could never leave my family behind and that I didn’t care what happened as long as I was with my loved ones. It was the only way. I was only sorry that I couldn’t be more helpful to them.

I still think about that time when I could have gone to the Soviet Union to save my life and escape the Germans. In Krakow, we were hunted by the Nazis as animals are hunted in the jungle. We suffered from hunger, terror and humiliation. It was exhausting to get through each day and it was unbearable to watch my family suffering. Not being able to help them made me feel helpless, angry and miserable. If only my family could have gone to the Soviet Union.

Les Ombres du passé

Trouver un lieu sûr

Peu aprĂšs le dĂ©but de la guerre, le gouvernement soviĂ©tique a ouvert ses frontiĂšres et de nombreux Juifs sont passĂ©s en Union soviĂ©tique pour Ă©chapper aux nazis. Mais beaucoup sont aussi restĂ©s sur place. Certains refusaient d’aller vivre dans un pays communiste et d’autres ne voulaient pas quitter leur maison et leurs biens durement acquis. Les anciens, qui se souvenaient de la politesse de l’occupant allemand pendant la PremiĂšre Guerre mondiale, ne pouvaient imaginer les crimes dont ces soldats allaient se rendre coupables. Et beaucoup de Juifs n’avaient pas les moyens de partir car ils avaient des familles nombreuses avec des enfants en bas Ăąge. C’était le cas de mes parents, avec sept enfants Ă  charge, dont une fillette de cinq ans. Pour compliquer la situation, ma mĂšre souffrait d’arthrite. Il nous Ă©tait impossible de nous rendre tous en Union soviĂ©tique. Au dĂ©but du printemps 1940, mes bons amis Leon Monderer et Jozef Szarp sont allĂ©s Ă  LwĂłw, en Pologne sous occupation soviĂ©tique.

Ils ont passĂ© la frontiĂšre soviĂ©tique alors ouverte et ont Ă©tĂ© libĂ©rĂ©s du joug nazi. AprĂšs avoir trouvĂ© du travail Ă  LwĂłw, ils ont pris le risque de revenir Ă  Cracovie quelques jours pour revoir leurs familles et leurs amis. Avant de retourner en zone d’occupation soviĂ©tique, Leon et Jozef m’ont rendu visite et m’ont demandĂ© de les accompagner. Ils m’ont affirmĂ© qu’ils avaient un bon travail pour moi et que je devrais saisir l’occasion d’échapper Ă  l’oppression nazie. Quel tourment que cette dĂ©cision ! Pouvais-je quitter ma chĂšre famille Ă  un moment aussi critique ? Mais je ne leur Ă©tais pas d’une grande utilitĂ© Ă  Cracovie et j’avais la possibilitĂ© de bien m’en sortir Ă  LwĂłw avec mes amis. J’ai dĂ©cidĂ© d’opter pour ma libertĂ©. Le coeur gros, j’ai choisi de partir.

Mes parents n’ont pas remis en question ma dĂ©cision ; ils voulaient que j’échappe Ă  ce qui se passait en Pologne. Ma mĂšre m’a prĂ©parĂ© une valise avec des chemises, des pantalons, des chaussettes et une veste. J’étais prĂȘt Ă  partir. J’ai d’abord dit au revoir aux miens puis mes parents m’ont poussĂ© vers mes amis qui attendaient prĂšs de la porte. « J’espĂšre vous revoir bientĂŽt », ai-je murmurĂ© avec Ă©motion Ă  mes parents. Mais ensuite, je me suis retournĂ© et j’ai vu tous les membres de ma famille cĂŽte Ă  cĂŽte. Mes soeurs cadettes pleuraient. Cette image a Ă©tĂ© si pĂ©nible que je n’ai pas pu partir. J’ai posĂ© ma valise par terre et j’ai dit Ă  mes amis de s’en aller sans moi. Je leur ai dĂ©claré : « J’espĂšre qu’un jour nous nous retrouverons libres, mais je ne quitterai pas ma famille. »

Leon et Jozef ont Ă©tĂ© déçus, mais ils ont compris ce que je ressentais. Nous nous sommes dit au revoir et avons exprimĂ© le souhait de nous revoir aprĂšs la guerre. J’ai eu du mal Ă  quitter mes meilleurs amis, parce que je ne pouvais m’empĂȘcher de penser que nous ne nous reverrions jamais. Mais si j’étais parti avec eux, je ne me le serais jamais pardonnĂ©. J’étais trĂšs heureux d’avoir dĂ©cidĂ© de demeurer avec les miens. J’ai su alors que je ne les quitterais jamais et que nous ferions face ensemble aux Ă©preuves Ă  venir, quelles qu’elles soient. C’était lĂ  mon point de vue, le seul possible pour moi. Je regrettais seulement de ne pas ĂȘtre d’une plus grande utilitĂ© pour ma famille.

Je pense encore Ă  l’époque oĂč j’aurais pu me rendre en Union soviĂ©tique pour sauver ma vie et Ă©chapper aux Allemands. À Cracovie, nous Ă©tions pourchassĂ©s par les nazis comme des animaux dans la jungle. Nous subissions la faim, la terreur et l’humiliation. Chaque journĂ©e Ă©tait une Ă©preuve et je ne supportais pas de voir ma famille souffrir. Je me sentais impuissant, en colĂšre et malheureux de ne pas pouvoir les aider. Si seulement nous avions tous pu fuir en Union soviĂ©tique !

Album of My Life

When it All Changed

A week of uncertainty ended when German troops marched into Lodz on Friday, September 8, 1939. It was a warm, sunny day and I walked toward Plac Wolnoƛci to watch the arrival of the occupiers. They came on foot and in trucks, looking immaculate in their uniforms, boots shining. Many of them carried flowers from the German population of the city. City Hall and other buildings were decked out with huge flags with swastikas. In other words, the city rolled out the red carpet to welcome the invaders, whom some regarded as liberators. The large German population of the city opened their arms for their brethren, even though the community had lived in Poland for generations. There weren’t many sad faces in the throngs, and there were fewer Jews.

Signs of things to come appeared almost immediately. I witnessed a soldier pulling an elderly Jewish man’s beard and kicking him to the ground because he wasn’t working fast enough to fill the trenches that had been dug only a few days before to stop the German tanks. I remember how enthusiastic and patriotic we had felt when we dug those trenches.

At the end of September, after weeks of siege and relentless bombing, Warsaw capitulated and the triumphant German army occupied the city on October 1, 1939. In the conquered capital city, burned out, demolished buildings bore witness to the results of modern warfare. A beautiful, cultural city was reduced to rubble. Most of Warsaw’s defenders were dead, and while the valiant survivors could resist no longer they were still full of spirit.

My sister’s store faced the Zielong Rynek, the Green Market. On one Sunday soon after the Germans arrived, the stalls in the market were closed and some boys were playing soccer there when a truckwith German soldiers went by. They stopped and joined the boys in the game, which frightened everybody. Another time, when I took my niece for a stroll in the park – this was before the harsh laws banning us from parks were passed – an older soldier next to me started playing with Miriam. With tears in his eyes, he told me that he had left a baby the same age back in Germany. I don’t remember any other demonstrations of kindness. Maybe the same soldier would think nothing of bashing a Jewish baby’s head against a wall to kill it. These examples are just too minor when you consider what was about to happen to us.

...

Before long, all kinds of decrees and restrictions started appearing, each one more dehumanizing than the last. There were so many of them that it’s hard to remember them all, although a few stand out in my memory. No Jews were allowed to attend school or institutes of higher learning, regardless of age, which brought my formal education to an end at fourteen. We were banned from using public transportation and from entering any park, theatre or cinema. A curfew was imposed from seven at night until seven in the morning. We had to get off the sidewalk when a German soldier approached. Most shameful of all, we had to wear an armband as a sign of our Jewish identity on our sleeves. Disobeying this rule was punishable by death.

L’Album de ma vie

Quand ma vie a basculé

Les troupes allemandes sont entrĂ©es dans ƁódĆș le vendredi 8 septembre 1939. C’était un bel aprĂšs-midi ensoleillĂ© et je me suis dirigĂ©e vers la place Wolnoƛci pour voir arriver les occupants. Ils sont arrivĂ©s Ă  pied et en camions, impeccables dans leurs uniformes et leurs bottes bien astiquĂ©es. Plusieurs d’entre eux portaient des fleurs offertes par la population allemande de la ville. L’hĂŽtel de ville et d’autres Ă©difices Ă©taient pavoisĂ©s d’immenses drapeaux arborant des croix gammĂ©es. Autrement dit, la ville dĂ©roulait le tapis rouge pour accueillir les envahisseurs que certains considĂ©raient comme des libĂ©rateurs. L’importante population allemande de la ville ouvrait les bras Ă  ses compatriotes et ce, mĂȘme si la communautĂ© Ă©tait installĂ©e en Pologne depuis des gĂ©nĂ©rations. On ne voyait pas beaucoup de visages tristes dans la foule et les Juifs se faisaient rares.

Les signes avant-coureurs de ce qui allait se passer sont apparus presque immĂ©diatement. J’ai vu de mes yeux un soldat tirer un vieillard juif par la barbe et le jeter Ă  terre Ă  coups de pied parce qu’il ne remplissait pas assez vite les tranchĂ©es creusĂ©es quelques jours auparavant pour arrĂȘter les chars d’assaut allemands. Je me souviens comme nous nous Ă©tions sentis enthousiastes et patriotes en les creusant.

Varsovie a capitulĂ© vers la fin du mois de septembre, aprĂšs des semaines de siĂšge et de bombardements continus, et l’armĂ©e allemande victorieuse a occupĂ© la ville le 1á”‰Êł octobre 1939. Dans la capitale conquise, des immeubles incendiĂ©s et dĂ©truits montraient les ravages causĂ©s par l’armement moderne. Cette belle ville qui avait Ă©tĂ© un foyer culturel important a Ă©tĂ© rĂ©duite en cendres. Presque tous les dĂ©fenseurs de Varsovie Ă©taient morts et mĂȘme s’ils ne pouvaient rĂ©sister plus longtemps, les courageux survivants gardaient le moral.

Le magasin de ma sƓur Ă©tait situĂ© en face du Zielony Rynek, le « marchĂ© vert ». Un dimanche, peu de temps aprĂšs l’arrivĂ©e des Allemands, alors que les Ă©choppes du marchĂ© Ă©taient fermĂ©es et que quelques gamins jouaient au football, un camion de soldats allemands est arrivĂ©. Il s’est arrĂȘtĂ© et les soldats ont commencĂ© Ă  jouer avec les garçons, ce qui a terrifiĂ© tout le monde. Une autre fois, avant l’adoption des lois impitoyables nous interdisant l’accĂšs aux parcs, je me promenais dans le parc avec ma niĂšce quand un soldat un peu plus ĂągĂ© s’est mis Ă  jouer avec Miriam. Les larmes aux yeux, il m’a confiĂ© qu’il avait laissĂ© un bĂ©bĂ© du mĂȘme Ăąge en Allemagne. Je ne me souviens pas d’avoir Ă©tĂ© tĂ©moin d’autres manifestations de gentillesse. Ce mĂȘme soldat n’aurait peut-ĂȘtre pas hĂ©sitĂ© Ă  tuer un bĂ©bĂ© juif en lui fracassant la tĂȘte contre un mur. Ces exemples sont tout simplement trop insignifiants quand on pense Ă  ce qui allait nous arriver.

À peine entrĂ©s dans ƁódĆș, les Allemands ont aussitĂŽt dynamitĂ© le monument du hĂ©ros polonais Tadeusz Koƛciuszko au centre de la place Wolnoƛci. Je me souviens de l’avoir vu gisant par terre un jour oĂč je me promenais. La tĂȘte Ă©tait sĂ©parĂ©e du torse. Un soldat allemand triomphateur se faisait photographier, un bras autour de sa petite amie, un pied sur la tĂȘte de Koƛciuszko.

Peu de temps aprĂšs, toutes sortes de restrictions et de dĂ©crets sont entrĂ©s en vigueur, tous plus dĂ©shumanisants les uns que les autres. Il y en avait tant qu’il est difficile de se les rappeler tous, mais certains me sont restĂ©s en mĂ©moire. Les Juifs, quel que soit leur Ăąge, n’avaient plus le droit de frĂ©quenter des Ă©coles ou des instituts d’études supĂ©rieures et c’est ainsi que mes Ă©tudes ont pris fin quand j’avais 14 ans. Il nous Ă©tait interdit d’utiliser les transports en commun et d’entrer dans un parc, un thĂ©Ăątre ou un cinĂ©ma. Un couvre-feu Ă©tait imposĂ© de 19 heures Ă  7 heures. Nous devions changer de trottoir Ă  l’approche d’un soldat allemand. Le comble de l’humiliation, c’était que nous devions porter un brassard comme signe de notre identitĂ© juive. DĂ©sobĂ©ir Ă  ce rĂšglement Ă©tait passible de la peine de mort.

But I Had a Happy Childhood

Hiding and Surviving

People were dying like flies in the ghetto, not only in the daily Aktionen but also in mass executions at the Jewish cemetery, where the victims had to dig their own graves before being shot. Others were taken away in carts to trains bound for the death camp at Belzec. There were also those who died from disease, primarily typhus, due to the complete lack of sanitation. And then, of course, there was always starvation. Bodies in the streets became a regular fact of life, even though carts came around to remove them.

The liquidation of the ghetto was imminent. By the end of February, the StanisƂawów ghetto was declared judenrein, cleansed of Jews.

Prior to that fateful time, however, my mother had sensed that she had to do something before it was too late. By December 1942, she had lost most of her family and her baby looked sadder and thinner every day. I was almost two and I couldn’t walk yet. I barely talked. One cold overcast morning, she wrapped a comforter tightly around the two of us and approached the main Schleuse, or gate to the ghetto, where she saw her cousin Jakob Mandel in charge. He was a tough, stocky man who had had business dealings with the Germans before the war. His position of authority was a reward for loyal service. Later he too was executed by the Nazis. On this particular occasion, there was a quick exchange as the eyes of the cousins met before he turned away, allowing my mother and her precious bundle to slip behind his broad back.

Once outside the ghetto walls, my mother ripped off her blue-and-white Star of David armband and ran down the cobblestone street, fully expecting a bullet in the back. By this time I was well trained to be quiet. Just being so close to my mother was enough to make me happy. We reached the safety of the apartment of a former neighbour, who pulled us in quickly, no doubt fearing for her life. That night I was nestled in between my mother and Pani (Mrs.) Poliszowa on her bed.

My happiness didn’t last long. The next day, my mother handed me over to Józia, who had been a maid in her brother’s house, to take me to her widowed sister in Pozniki, a neighbouring village. Marynia and her two young sons were my new family for the next eighteen months. With my blond hair, blue eyes and button nose, I fit in easily as the baby sister. Suffering from malnutrition and one childhood illness after another, it took a while for me to become a healthy normal toddler.

Souvenirs de l’abüme/Le Bonheur de l’innocence

Survivre en clandestinité

Les gens mouraient comme des mouches autour de nous, que ce soit durant les Aktionen quotidiennes ou lors des exĂ©cutions en masse perpĂ©trĂ©es au cimetiĂšre juif, aprĂšs que les victimes avaient Ă©tĂ© forcĂ©es d’y creuser leur propre tombe. D’autres Ă©taient emmenĂ©s en charrettes vers les trains Ă  destination du camp de la mort de BeƂzec. Et certains mouraient des suites de maladies, principalement du typhus, en raison des conditions d’hygiĂšne abominables. Puis, Ă©videmment, il y avait la faim. Les corps gisants dans la rue Ă©taient chose courante, malgrĂ© le passage rĂ©gulier de charrettes destinĂ©es Ă  les ramasser.

La liquidation du ghetto de StanisƂawĂłw Ă©tait imminente. De fait, Ă  la fin du mois de fĂ©vrier 1943, les Allemands l’ont dĂ©clarĂ© « judenrein », nettoyĂ© des Juifs.

Mais avant ce moment fatidique, avant qu’il ne soit trop tard, ma mĂšre avait senti qu’il fallait faire quelque chose. En dĂ©cembre 1942, elle avait perdu presque tous les membres de sa famille et son bĂ©bĂ© lui semblait plus triste et plus maigre de jour en jour. J’avais prĂšs de 2 ans, mais je ne marchais pas encore. Je parlais Ă  peine. Par un matin froid et couvert, elle m’a prise avec elle, nous a emmitouflĂ©es Ă©troitement dans un Ă©dredon et s’est approchĂ©e de la Schleuse (porte) principale du Ghetto, oĂč son cousin Jakob Mandel Ă©tait de service. Cet homme solide et trapu avait fait des affaires avec les Allemands avant la guerre, mais bien que ses loyaux services lui aient valu une place d’autoritĂ© dans la communautĂ©, il a tout de mĂȘme Ă©tĂ© exĂ©cutĂ© plus tard par les nazis. Ce jour-lĂ , les deux cousins ont Ă©changĂ© un regard furtif, puis Mandel s’est retournĂ©, permettant ainsi Ă  ma mĂšre de passer derriĂšre son large dos avec son prĂ©cieux paquet.

Une fois sortie du Ghetto, ma mĂšre a retirĂ© son brassard bleu et blanc portant l’étoile de David et s’est mise Ă  courir dans la rue pavĂ©e, s’attendant Ă  tout moment Ă  recevoir une balle dans le dos. À cette Ă©poque, j’avais appris Ă  me tenir tranquille, et ĂȘtre si prĂšs de ma mĂšre suffisait Ă  me rendre heureuse. Nous nous sommes rĂ©fugiĂ©es sur le seuil de l’appartement d’une ancienne voisine qui, craignant sans doute pour sa vie, nous a vite tirĂ©es vers l’intĂ©rieur. Cette nuit-lĂ , j’ai dormi dans le lit de Pani (Mᔐᔉ) Poliszowa, blottie entre elle et ma mĂšre.

Mon bonheur a Ă©tĂ© de courte durĂ©e. DĂšs le lendemain, ma mĂšre m’a confiĂ©e Ă  une ancienne domestique de son frĂšre, JĂłzia, qui m’a emmenĂ©e chez sa soeur Marynia Ă  Pozniki, un village voisin. Cette veuve et ses deux petits garçons de 3 et 6 ans ont Ă©tĂ© ma nouvelle famille durant 18 mois. Avec mes cheveux blonds, mes yeux bleus et mon petit nez, je passais facilement pour la petite soeur. Ayant souffert de malnutrition et de nombreuses maladies infantiles, j’ai tout de mĂȘme mis un certain temps Ă  jouir d’une bonne santĂ©.

If Only It Were Fiction

Elsa Joins the Resistance

In the middle of the summer of 1942, we were coming in from the fields one day when someone said that Leah wanted to see me. She was in the kitchen with another woman, chatting. Leah introduced her to me as Irena Adamowicz. Irena was a leader in the Polish scouting organization. Outraged by the injustice done to the Jews, she helped out however she could. Irena travelled across the country, making contact with chalutzim in the major ghettos and telling them about how the underground resistance operated. Although travel was dangerous for Jews, a few chalutzot, like Lonka who had come to the farm earlier, successfully fulfilled their mission as messengers too. The messengers were purchasing weapons, which then were smuggled into the ghettos through the sewers. Most people in the ghettos couldn’t communicate with others about what to do in case of a massacre but through Irena, they knew how the others were preparing for such a time.

Irena talked to me for a while. She told me that I was being sent to Krakow. She asked how I felt about resistance work and whether or not I knew Christian prayers. I told her I knew many of them by heart after so many years of hearing Catholic students saying the prayers every morning at school. She seemed satisfied with my answers. Irena gave me the address of a convent and told me to send a letter to the Mother Superior on the seventh day of every month as a sign that I was still alive. Whenever the underground needed me, they would let me know. She handed me a prayer book and said only, “Be careful and good luck.” That was the only advice I was to receive. The rest of my training would come from real-life situations. I would have to trust my intuition to keep me out of danger, just as animals do. They don’t think about it, they simply know when danger is near.

The next day, the resistance had organized for Hela and I to go to the village to have pictures taken for our identification documents. Dvora lent me a pretty blouse and combed my hair, so I would look my best. We walked through the village, afraid that someone would recognize us as Jews. The photographer took me by surprise when he asked me my surname. In shock, I didn’t think but just said the first name that came to my mind, a surname connected to the aristocracy. That name, ElĆŒbieta Orlanska, was the one that was used in my forged documents. This was a stroke of luck because later it was useful in getting other documents required by the German authorities.

A few days later, with a forged document that stated that I was from RzeszĂłw and a letter from Leah for Laban, the leader of the resistance movement in the Krakow ghetto, I was sent to Krakow on the morning train. Hela was sent to another city in the afternoon.

After the war, I discovered that the rest of my group back on the farm in CzerniakĂłw were sent to the Warsaw ghetto about four months after I left for Krakow. In April 1943, when an order came from the Nazis to concentrate all Jews in the ghetto for a massive deportation, some of the group, who were living at 18 Mila Street and belonged to the underground Jewish Fighting Organization, rebelled. Others simply dispersed. Most of them did not survive.

To my friends from Czerniaków who were killed while taking part in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, as well as to those on missions who were caught outside the ghetto, dragged to the Umschlagplatz – the assembly point inside the Warsaw ghetto – and killed indiscriminately, I offer my eternal homage.

Traces of What Was, Steve Rotschild

Ten-year-old Steve Rotschild learns to hide, to be silent, to be still – and to wait. He knows the sound of the Nazis’ army boots and knows to hold his breath until their footsteps recede. Rotschild takes us on a captivating journey through his wartime childhood in Vilna, eloquently juxtaposing his past, furtive walks outside the ghetto with his long, liberating walks through Toronto fifty years after the war. Vividly evoking his experiences, this story of survival and a mother’s tenacious love leaves the reader indelibly marked by Traces of What Was.

Introduction by Menachem Kaiser

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Pologne; Lituanie
Ghetto de Vilnius
Camp de travaux forcés
Clandestinité
Immigration au Canada en 1956
Tranche d'ùge recommandée
14+
Langue
Anglais

144 pages

À propos de l'auteur

Photo of Steve Rotschild

Steve Rotschild est nĂ© en 1933 Ă  Vilnius (Lituanie). AprĂšs la guerre, sa mĂšre s'est remariĂ©e et leur nouvelle famille a immigrĂ© en IsraĂ«l. En 1956, Steve a Ă©pousĂ© Lillian Ă  MontrĂ©al, oĂč leurs deux filles ont vu le jour. AprĂšs avoir vĂ©cu pendant quelques annĂ©es Ă  Phoenix (États-Unis), ils ont fini par s’installer Ă  Toronto. Tout au long de sa vie, Steve a Ă©crit des nouvelles et peint des tableaux reprĂ©sentant des scĂšnes de la vie sauvage. Il aimait Ă©galement pĂȘcher dans le parc Algonquin, se servant des leurres qu'il avait lui-mĂȘme confectionnĂ©s. Steve Rotschild est dĂ©cĂ©dĂ© en 2020.

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Sur les traces du passé, Steve Rotschild

Steve Rotschild, ĂągĂ© de 10 ans, apprend Ă  se cacher, Ă  se taire, Ă  rester immobile. Il reconnaĂźt le claquement des bottes nazies et sait retenir sa respiration jusqu’à ce que s’éloignent les soldats. Rotschild nous entraĂźne dans un voyage captivant au cƓur de son enfance Ă  Vilnius durant la guerre, juxtaposant avec Ă©loquence ses sorties d’autrefois hors du Ghetto avec ses longues promenades libĂ©ratrices dans Toronto, 50 ans aprĂšs l’Holocauste. Sur les traces du passĂ© raconte la survie du garçonnet et l’amour inĂ©branlable de sa mĂšre, laissant une marque indĂ©lĂ©bile dans l’esprit du lecteur.

Préface de Menachem Kaiser

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Pologne; Lituanie
Ghetto de Vilnius
Camp de travaux forcés
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Immigration au Canada en 1956
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14+
Langue
Français

152 pages

À propos de l'auteur

Photo of Steve Rotschild

Steve Rotschild est nĂ© en 1933 Ă  Vilnius (Lituanie). AprĂšs la guerre, sa mĂšre s'est remariĂ©e et leur nouvelle famille a immigrĂ© en IsraĂ«l. En 1956, Steve a Ă©pousĂ© Lillian Ă  MontrĂ©al, oĂč leurs deux filles ont vu le jour. AprĂšs avoir vĂ©cu pendant quelques annĂ©es Ă  Phoenix (États-Unis), ils ont fini par s’installer Ă  Toronto. Tout au long de sa vie, Steve a Ă©crit des nouvelles et peint des tableaux reprĂ©sentant des scĂšnes de la vie sauvage. Il aimait Ă©galement pĂȘcher dans le parc Algonquin, se servant des leurres qu'il avait lui-mĂȘme confectionnĂ©s. Steve Rotschild est dĂ©cĂ©dĂ© en 2020.

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Dignity Endures (Traduction française à venir), Judith Rubinstein

À son arrivĂ©e Ă  Auschwitz-Birkenau, oĂč elle a Ă©tĂ© dĂ©portĂ©e de Hongrie, Judith est immĂ©diatement confrontĂ©e Ă  la mort, Ă  laquelle elle rĂ©chappe grĂące aux interventions rapides de sa mĂšre. À l’ñge de vingt-quatre ans, sĂ©parĂ©e du reste de sa famille, la jeune femme peine Ă  rester en vie dans un environnement fondĂ© sur l'humiliation et la dĂ©chĂ©ance des dĂ©tenus, oĂč survivre Ă  la violence quotidienne est une question de chance. Alors que sa famille a Ă©tĂ© dĂ©cimĂ©e, la jeune femme se raccroche aux souvenirs de ceux qu'elle aimait. Se sentant dĂ©sespĂ©rĂ©ment seule aprĂšs la guerre, elle s'est efforcĂ©e de reprendre sa destinĂ©e en main et de trouver un lieu oĂč refaire sa vie. Entrelaçant son rĂ©cit Ă  celui de ses proches, les souvenirs poĂ©tiques de Judith montrent comment elle a gardĂ© le front haut, alors qu'elle traversait l'une des pires tragĂ©dies humaines.

Préface de Eli Rubinstein

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Hongrie
DĂ©portation
Camp de la mort d’Auschwitz-Birkenau
RĂ©volte d’Auschwitz-Birkenau
Camps de concentration
Camp de personnes dĂ©placĂ©es (Italie d’aprĂšs-guerre)
Immigration au Canada en 1948
Adaptation Ă  la vie canadienne
Tranche d'ùge recommandée
16+
Langue
Anglais

192 pages

À propos de l'auteure

Photo of Judith Rubinstein

Judith Rubinstein est nĂ©e en 1920 Ă  MezƑcsĂĄt (Hongrie). AprĂšs la guerre, elle a passĂ© plus de deux ans dans un camp de personnes dĂ©placĂ©es en Italie. En 1948, elle a immigrĂ© au Canada avec son Ă©poux, BĂ©la, et leur nouveau-nĂ©, Robert Eli. À Toronto, elle a menĂ© une existence bien remplie, entourĂ©e de ses enfants, Robert et Rochelle, de ses sept petits-enfants et de ses onze arriĂšre-petits-enfants. Judith est l’auteure de plusieurs courtes histoires et de mĂ©moires, elle Ă©tait une grande lectrice et une confĂ©renciĂšre apprĂ©ciĂ©e au Neuberger Holocaust Centre. Judith Rubinstein est dĂ©cĂ©dĂ©e en 2013.

In Search of Light (Traduction française à venir), Martha Salcudean

En 1944, Martha Salcudean n’a que 10 ans lorsque son enfance prend fin brutalement. Cela fait dĂ©jĂ  plusieurs annĂ©es que la guerre fait rage en Europe, mais en Transylvanie du Nord, territoire annexĂ© Ă  la Hongrie, l’invasion allemande de 1944 entraĂźne une intensification des persĂ©cutions. Du jour au lendemain, Martha et ses parents sont contraints de vivre dans des ghettos oĂč ils sont exposĂ©s Ă  une extrĂȘme cruautĂ©. Au moment d’embarquer dans un wagon Ă  bestiaux, le pĂšre de Martha doit faire un choix impromptu et sa dĂ©cision va prĂ©server la famille d’une mort certaine Ă  Auschwitz-Birkenau. Ils font partie du groupe de Juifs sauvĂ©s par Rudolf Kasztner suite Ă  des nĂ©gociations menĂ©es avec les nazis. AprĂšs la guerre, Martha et les siens regagnent leur pays natal oĂč ils tombent sous le coup de la dictature communiste nouvellement Ă©tablie. Ses mĂ©moires In Search of Light dĂ©crivent les annĂ©es sombres passĂ©es sous deux rĂ©gimes totalitaires ainsi que le retour Ă  une vie libre au Canada, oĂč Martha peut finalement prendre en main sa propre destinĂ©e.

Préface de Zoltån Tibori Szabó

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Roumanie (Transylvanie du Nord); Hongrie; Suisse
Ghettos
Train de Kasztner
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Vie en pays communiste
Immigration au Canada en 1976
Adaptation Ă  la vie canadienne
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14+
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Anglais

232 pages

À propos de l'auteure

Photo of Martha Salcudean

Dre Martha Salcudean est nĂ©e en 1934 Ă  Cluj (Roumanie). Elle a immigrĂ© au Canada en 1976 oĂč elle a enseignĂ© Ă  l’UniversitĂ© d’Ottawa, puis occupĂ© le poste de directrice du dĂ©partement de gĂ©nie mĂ©canique Ă  l’UniversitĂ© de Colombie britannique (UBC). Martha est titulaire de trois doctorats honorifiques et de plusieurs prix et distinctions prestigieuses pour ses nombreuses contributions dans les domaines de la science et du gĂ©nie mĂ©canique. Martha est dĂ©cĂ©dĂ©e en juillet 2019.

Never Far Apart, Kitty Salsberg, Ellen Foster

Kati and her younger sister, Ilonka, arrive in Canada with painful memories from the Holocaust, which has taken both of their parents. Their harrowing time alone in the Budapest ghetto is fresh in their minds, as are their fragile hopes to be adopted. But their lives in Toronto are far from what they expected, and full of broken promises. As the sisters navigate their new surroundings, they each grow fiercely strong and independent, while holding onto the comfort that they will be Never Far Apart.

Introduction by Adara Goldberg

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Ghetto de Budapest
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Adaptation Ă  la vie canadienne
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14+
Langue
Anglais

208 pages

À propos de l'auteure

Photo of Kitty Salsberg

Kitty (Kati) Salsberg est nĂ©e en 1932 Ă  Budapest (Hongrie). Elle a immigrĂ© au Canada en 1948, oĂč elle a eu une longue et riche carriĂšre d’enseignante. Kitty vit Ă  Toronto.

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À propos de l'auteure

Photo of Ellen Foster

Ellen (Ilonka) Foster est nĂ©e en 1935 Ă  Budapest (Hongrie). Elle a immigrĂ© au Canada en 1948. Ellen a dĂ©mĂ©nagĂ© Ă  Los Angeles en 1952, oĂč elle a travaillĂ© et fondĂ© une famille. Elle vit toujours Ă  Los Angeles.

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Unies dans l’épreuve, Kitty Salsberg, Ellen Foster

Kati et sa jeune sƓur, Ilonka, arrivent au Canada marquĂ©es par l’Holocauste qui les a privĂ©es de leurs deux parents. La pĂ©riode Ă©prouvante qu’elles ont passĂ©e seules au ghetto de Budapest est encore fraĂźche dans leur mĂ©moire et elles ont l’espoir fragile d’ĂȘtre adoptĂ©es. Mais leur vie Ă  Toronto est bien loin de ce qu’elles avaient imaginĂ© et pleine de promesses non tenues. Au fur et Ă  mesure que les deux sƓurs s’adaptent Ă  leur nouvel environnement, elles deviennent fortes et indĂ©pendantes, se raccrochant Ă  l’idĂ©e qu’elles resteront toujours Unies dans l’épreuve.

Préface de Adara Goldberg

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Ghetto de Budapest
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Adaptation Ă  la vie canadienne
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14+
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Français

232 pages

À propos de l'auteure

Photo of Kitty Salsberg

Kitty (Kati) Salsberg est nĂ©e en 1932 Ă  Budapest (Hongrie). Elle a immigrĂ© au Canada en 1948, oĂč elle a eu une longue et riche carriĂšre d’enseignante. Kitty vit Ă  Toronto.

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À propos de l'auteure

Photo of Ellen Foster

Ellen (Ilonka) Foster est nĂ©e en 1935 Ă  Budapest (Hongrie). Elle a immigrĂ© au Canada en 1948. Ellen a dĂ©mĂ©nagĂ© Ă  Los Angeles en 1952, oĂč elle a travaillĂ© et fondĂ© une famille. Elle vit toujours Ă  Los Angeles.

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Escape from the Edge (traduction française à venir), Morris Schnitzer

Le jeune Morris Schnitzer doit sa survie Ă  des dĂ©cisions audacieuses qui lui ont permis de rĂ©chapper Ă  plusieurs reprises aux nazis. À la veille de la Seconde Guerre mondiale, il parvient Ă  fuir l’Allemagne d’Hitler pour se rĂ©fugier aux Pays-Bas, oĂč il sera bientĂŽt rattrapĂ© par l’envahisseur nazi. DĂ©terminĂ© Ă  lutter de toutes ses forces pour survivre, Morris est animĂ© par les conseils de son pĂšre : Ă©viter de finir dans un camp de concentration. En quĂȘte d’un lieu sĂ»r en Europe occidentale, le jeune homme franchit les frontiĂšres sous de fausses identitĂ©s, refusant de cĂ©der Ă  l’occupant nazi. Au cours de sa fuite Ă©pique, Morris est fait prisonnier et contraint Ă  des tĂąches Ă©reintantes dans une ferme. Il rejoint par la suite la rĂ©sistance belge puis s’engage dans l’armĂ©e amĂ©ricaine, jurant de venger tout ce qu’il a perdu.

Préface de Bob Moore

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Allemagne; Pays-Bas; France; Belgique
Kristallnacht (Nuit de cristal)
Kindertransport (Transport d’enfants)
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Fausse identité
RĂ©sistance
Pays-Bas d’aprùs-guerre
Immigration au Canada en 1947
Tranche d'ùge recommandée
14+
Langue
Anglais

196 pages

À propos de l'auteur

Photo of Morris Schnitzer

Morris Schnitzer est nĂ© en 1922 Ă  Bochum (Allemagne). En 1947, il a immigrĂ© Ă  MontrĂ©al oĂč il a poursuivi ses Ă©tudes Ă  l’UniversitĂ© McGill, jusqu’à l’obtention d’un doctorat en 1955. Morris a travaillĂ© Ă  Ottawa au ministĂšre de l’Agriculture du Canada, en tant que chimiste principal spĂ©cialisĂ© dans la matiĂšre organique des sols. Au cours de sa brillante carriĂšre, il a remportĂ© le prestigieux prix Wolf en agriculture (1995), publiĂ© trois livres et plus de 400 articles scientifiques. Morris Schnitzer est dĂ©cĂ©dĂ© en 2020 Ă  Ottawa.

Dangerous Measures (Traduction française à venir), Joseph Schwarzberg

Fuyant l’Allemagne Ă  la suite de la Kristallnacht en 1938, le jeune Joseph Schwarzberg et sa famille se sont rĂ©fugiĂ©s Ă  Bruxelles, mais en 1940, quand les Allemands sont entrĂ©s en Belgique, ils ont dĂ» repartir, cette fois en France. Puis les nazis ont conquis la France, et la famille de Joseph a dĂ» regagner Bruxelles. À 16 ans Ă  peine, Joseph est ensuite retournĂ© seul en France oĂč, sous une fausse identitĂ©, il a dĂ» affronter tous les dangers. Échappant aux nazis Ă  plusieurs reprises, il a combattu bravement au sein de la RĂ©sistance jusqu’à la LibĂ©ration. Mais ses annĂ©es de combat n’étaient pas terminĂ©es, car une fois arrivĂ© en Palestine, il a continuĂ© Ă  faire tout ce qu’il pouvait pour prĂ©server sa libertĂ©.

Préface de Renée Poznanski

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Kristallnacht
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Documents datant de la guerre
IsraĂ«l d’aprĂšs-guerre
Immigration au Canada en 1968
Tranche d'ùge recommandée
14+
Langue
Anglais

248 pages

À propos de l'auteur

Photo of Joseph Schwarzberg

Joseph Schwarzberg est nĂ© en 1926 Ă  Leipzig (Allemagne). En 1945, lui et sa famille font partie de la premiĂšre vague d’immigrants Ă  se rendre lĂ©galement dans ce qui deviendra bientĂŽt l’État d’IsraĂ«l. Il immigre Ă  Toronto en 1968, oĂč il ouvre une fabrique de vĂȘtements, Adina J. Fashions. Joseph vit aujourd’hui Ă  Toronto.

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Survival Kit, Zuzana Sermer

An only child, fifteen-year-old Zuzana Sermer does what she can to protect her father and ailing mother when the Nazis set up a fascist regime in her native Slovakia in 1939. Four years later, fleeing to the supposed safety of Budapest, Zuzana and her fiancĂ©, Arthur, must instead navigate one treacherous situation after another when Germany occupies Hungary in March 1944. Survival Kit is both Sermer’s thoughtful reflections on the miracles of her survival and a testament to the power of courage, love and determination.

Introduction by Julia Creet

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Slovaquie; Hongrie
Clandestinité
Fausse identité
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SiĂšge de Budapest
TchĂ©coslovaquie d’aprĂšs-guerre
Vie en pays communiste
Immigration au Canada en 1968
Tranche d'ùge recommandée
14+
Langue
Anglais

192 pages

À propos de l'auteure

Photo of Zuzana Sermer

Zuzana Sermer est nĂ©e en 1924 Ă  HumennĂ© (Slovaquie). À la fin de la guerre, elle a Ă©pousĂ© Arthur Sermer avec qui elle s’est Ă©tablie Ă  Bratislava (TchĂ©coslovaquie, aujourd'hui en Slovaquie), oĂč ils ont fondĂ© une famille. En 1968, Zuzana et les siens ont fui l’occupation soviĂ©tique et se sont Ă©tablis Ă  Toronto (Canada) oĂč Zuzana a travaillĂ© comme commis comptable. Elle aimait peindre des paysages et Ă©crire sur la vie en pays communiste. Zuzana rĂ©side Ă  Toronto.

Trousse de survie, Zuzana Sermer

ÂgĂ©e de 15 ans au moment oĂč les nazis imposent un rĂ©gime fasciste dans sa Slovaquie natale, Zuzana Sermer fait tout en son pouvoir pour protĂ©ger son pĂšre et sa mĂšre malade. Quatre ans plus tard, ayant dĂ©cidĂ© de fuir vers une Hongrie prĂ©tendument sĂ»re, Zuzana et son fiancĂ©, Arthur, devront plutĂŽt affronter maintes situations dangereuses lorsque l’Allemagne envahira le pays en 1944. Dans ses mĂ©moires, Zuzana Sermer offre un tĂ©moignage Ă©loquent de ce qui a assurĂ© sa survie durant ces terrifiantes annĂ©es.

Préface de Julia Creet

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Slovaquie; Hongrie
Clandestinité
Fausse identité
Fuite
SiĂšge de Budapest
TchĂ©coslovaquie d’aprĂšs-guerre
Vie en pays communiste
Immigration au Canada en 1968
Tranche d'ùge recommandée
14+
Langue
Français

208 pages

À propos de l'auteure

Photo of Zuzana Sermer

Zuzana Sermer est nĂ©e en 1924 Ă  HumennĂ© (Slovaquie). À la fin de la guerre, elle a Ă©pousĂ© Arthur Sermer avec qui elle s’est Ă©tablie Ă  Bratislava (TchĂ©coslovaquie, aujourd'hui en Slovaquie), oĂč ils ont fondĂ© une famille. En 1968, Zuzana et les siens ont fui l’occupation soviĂ©tique et se sont Ă©tablis Ă  Toronto (Canada) oĂč Zuzana a travaillĂ© comme commis comptable. Elle aimait peindre des paysages et Ă©crire sur la vie en pays communiste. Zuzana rĂ©side Ă  Toronto.

The Violin/A Child's Testimony, Rachel Shtibel, Adam Shtibel

Two children, Rachel Milbauer and Adam Shtibel, elude almost certain death in Nazi-occupied Poland: Rachel, a vivacious music lover, lies hidden and silent in an underground bunker for nearly two years. Adam quietly “passes” as a non-Jew, forced every day to dodge the people who are intent on killing him. Saved by a combination of inner strength, luck and the help of courageous friends and strangers, Rachel and Adam meet and fall in love after the war and begin to build a new life together. Half a century later, a chance remark inspires Rachel to explore her memories and discover who she really is


Introduction by Naomi Azrieli

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Rachel Shtibel :
Pologne
Ghetto
Clandestinité
IsraĂ«l d’aprĂšs-guerre
Immigration au Canada en 1968
Adam Shtibel :
Pologne
Ghetto
Clandestinité ; Fausse identité
TĂ©moignage recueilli en 1948
Immigration au Canada en 1968
Tranche d'ùge recommandée
16+
Langue
Anglais

276 pages

MĂ©daille d’or dĂ©cernĂ©e lors des Independent Publisher Book Awards en 2008

À propos de l'auteure

Photo of Rachel Shtibel

Rachel Shtibel (nĂ©e Milbauer) a vu le jour en 1935 en Galicie orientale. AprĂšs la guerre, elle a rencontrĂ© Adam Shtibel qu’elle a Ă©pousĂ© en 1956. L’annĂ©e suivante, ils ont Ă©migrĂ© en IsraĂ«l oĂč Rachel a obtenu une maĂźtrise en microbiologie. En 1968, ils ont immigrĂ© au Canada et se sont installĂ©s Ă  Toronto, oĂč ils rĂ©sident aujourd’hui.

Consulter sur Re:Collection

À propos de l'auteur

Photo of Adam Shtibel

Adam Shtibel est nĂ© en 1928 Ă  KamarĂłw (Pologne). AprĂšs la guerre, il a rencontrĂ© Rachel qu’il a Ă©pousĂ©e en 1956. L’annĂ©e suivante, ils ont Ă©migrĂ© en IsraĂ«l oĂč Adam a travaillĂ© dans la construction aĂ©ronautique. En 1968, ils ont immigrĂ© au Canada et se sont installĂ©s Ă  Toronto, oĂč ils rĂ©sident aujourd’hui.

Le Violon / TĂ©moignage d’un enfant, Rachel Shtibel, Adam Shtibel

Deux enfants dans l’ombre de la mort en Pologne occupĂ©e Ă©chappent Ă  leurs bourreaux nazis : Rachel, la petite fille enjouĂ©e qui adore la musique, et Adam, le garçon silencieux qui se fait passer pour un non-Juif. SauvĂ©s par leur force intĂ©rieure, leur courage, la chance et la bienveillance de quelques amis et inconnus, Rachel et Adam se rencontrent aprĂšs la guerre, tombent amoureux et dĂ©cident de construire une nouvelle vie ensemble. Cinquante ans plus tard, une remarque inopinĂ©e incite Rachel Ă  se replonger dans ses souvenirs – et Ă  dĂ©couvrir qui elle est vraiment. Toujours Ă  ses cĂŽtĂ©s, Adam est lui-mĂȘme amenĂ© Ă  rompre le long silence qu’il s’est imposé 

Préface de Naomi Azrieli

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Rachel Shtibel:
Pologne
Ghetto
Clandestinité
IsraĂ«l d’aprĂšs-guerre
Immigration au Canada en 1968
Adam Shtibel:
Pologne
Ghetto
Clandestinité; Fausse identité
TĂ©moignage recueilli en 1948
Immigration au Canada en 1968
Tranche d'ùge recommandée
16+
Langue
Français

296 pages

MĂ©daille d’or dĂ©cernĂ©e lors des Independent Publisher Book Awards en 2008

À propos de l'auteure

Photo of Rachel Shtibel

Rachel Shtibel (nĂ©e Milbauer) a vu le jour en 1935 en Galicie orientale. AprĂšs la guerre, elle a rencontrĂ© Adam Shtibel qu’elle a Ă©pousĂ© en 1956. L’annĂ©e suivante, ils ont Ă©migrĂ© en IsraĂ«l oĂč Rachel a obtenu une maĂźtrise en microbiologie. En 1968, ils ont immigrĂ© au Canada et se sont installĂ©s Ă  Toronto, oĂč ils rĂ©sident aujourd’hui.

Consulter sur Re:Collection

À propos de l'auteur

Photo of Adam Shtibel

Adam Shtibel est nĂ© en 1928 Ă  KamarĂłw (Pologne). AprĂšs la guerre, il a rencontrĂ© Rachel qu’il a Ă©pousĂ©e en 1956. L’annĂ©e suivante, ils ont Ă©migrĂ© en IsraĂ«l oĂč Adam a travaillĂ© dans la construction aĂ©ronautique. En 1968, ils ont immigrĂ© au Canada et se sont installĂ©s Ă  Toronto, oĂč ils rĂ©sident aujourd’hui.

Chaos to Canvas (Traduction française à venir), Maxwell Smart

Dans la ville de Buczacz (Pologne), Maxwell, 11 ans, joue dans les ruines d’anciens chĂąteaux et mĂšne une vie tranquille entourĂ©e de sa famille jusqu'Ă  l'Ă©tĂ© 1941, date Ă  laquelle les nazis envahissent et anĂ©antissent son enfance Ă  jamais. Maxwell Ă©chappe de justesse Ă  la dĂ©portation et Ă  une mort certaine, et se retrouve bientĂŽt tout seul dans les bois glacĂ©s, se cachant des groupes de nazis et de leurs collaborateurs ukrainiens errants. Seul et dĂ©sespĂ©rĂ©, effrayĂ© et affamĂ©, Maxwell doit compter sur la bontĂ© d'un fermier ainsi que sur sa propre ingĂ©niositĂ© et son imagination pour survivre. À travers le rĂ©cit poignant, mais nĂ©anmoins stimulant du parcours qu’il narre dans Chaos to Canvas, Maxwell dĂ©crit avec Ă©loquence comment un petit garçon qui dĂ©pendait de sa famille s’est transformĂ© en un adolescent qui s’est battu pour survivre et, enfin, un homme qui s’est trouvĂ© dans la vie grĂące Ă  l'art, par-delĂ  la guerre.

Préface de Carol Zemel

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Pologne
Clandestinité
Camp de personnes dĂ©placĂ©es (Autriche d’aprĂšs-guerre); Roumanie
Projet des orphelins de guerre
Immigration au Canada en 1948
Adaptation Ă  la vie canadienne
ƒuvres d’art de l’auteur
Matériel pédagogique disponible: Activité Maxwell (anglais)
Tranche d'ùge recommandée
14+
Langue
Anglais

240 pages

À propos de l'auteur

Photo of Maxwell Smart

Maxwell Smart est nĂ© en 1930 Ă  Buczacz en Pologne (aujourd’hui en Ukraine). AprĂšs avoir survĂ©cu seul Ă  l’Holocauste, livrĂ© Ă  lui-mĂȘme, Maxwell immigre au Canada en 1948, Ă  l’ñge de dix-sept ans, dans le cadre du Projet des orphelins de guerre. Il s’est installĂ© Ă  MontrĂ©al oĂč, devenu un peintre Ă  succĂšs, il a ouvert sa propre galerie d’art en 2006.

Consulter sur Re:Collection

My Heart Is at Ease (Traduction française à venir), Gerta Solan

La passion de Gerta Solan pour la musique a dĂ©butĂ© trĂšs tĂŽt, suscitĂ©e par les concerts de musique de chambre jouĂ©s Ă  son domicile Ă  Prague. En 1942, Gerta est dĂ©portĂ©e avec ses parents Ă  Theresienstadt, la fausse « colonie juive modĂšle » des nazis, oĂč la musique et sa famille l’aident Ă  faire face Ă  d’éprouvantes conditions de vie. Plus tard, seule Ă  Auschwitz-Birkenau, Gerta rassemble tout son courage pour survivre Ă  l’innommable. Sa force de caractĂšre lui sert Ă  nouveau aprĂšs-guerre sous le rĂ©gime communisme qu’elle fuit pour aller s’installer au Canada.

Préface de Tatjana Lichtenstein

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Tchécoslovaquie
Ghetto / Camp de concentration de Theresienstadt
Camp de la mort d’Auschwitz-Birkenau
Marche de la mort
TchĂ©coslovaquie d’aprĂšs-guerre
Vie en pays communiste
Immigration au Canada en 1968
Adaptation Ă  la vie canadienne
Tranche d'ùge recommandée
14+
Langue
Anglais

208 pages

À propos de l'auteure

Photo of Gerta Solan

Gerta Solan est nĂ©e en 1929 Ă  Prague en TchĂ©coslovaquie (aujourd’hui en RĂ©publique tchĂšque). AprĂšs la LibĂ©ration, elle est retournĂ©e dans sa ville natale et a Ă©pousĂ© Paul Seidner (Solan) en 1949. Le couple a vĂ©cu Ă  Prague, sous le rĂ©gime communiste, jusqu’à ce que l’invasion soviĂ©tique de 1968 les pousse Ă  fuir le pays avec leur fils et Ă  immigrer Ă  Toronto. Gerta y a travaillĂ© pour la Croix-Rouge, retrouvant et rĂ©unissant des membres de familles Ă©prouvĂ©es par des catastrophes, jusqu’à sa retraite en 1995. Gerta vit aujourd’hui en IsraĂ«l.

In Fragile Moments/The Last Time (Traduction française à venir), Zsuzsanna Fischer Spiro, Eva Shainblum

Les vies jusqu’alors paisibles de Zsuzsanna Fischer et d’Eva Steinberger, deux jeunes filles nĂ©es Ă  200 kilomĂštres l’une de l’autre, plongent dans le chaos quand l’Allemagne occupe la Hongrie au printemps 1944. Alors que Szuzsanna et Eva, ĂągĂ©es respectivement de 18 et 16 ans, sont forcĂ©es d’emmĂ©nager dans des ghettos avant d’ĂȘtre dĂ©portĂ©es Ă  Auschwitz-Birkenau, elles trouvent chacune du rĂ©confort dans la prĂ©sence familiĂšre de leur grande sƓur. Tandis que Zsuzsanna consigne fiĂ©vreusement les Ă©vĂ©nements de la fin de la guerre dans son journal intime (dont elle reprendra la rĂ©daction au moment de la rĂ©volution hongroise de 1956 qui la traumatise), Eva, pour sa part, parvient Ă  Ă©chapper de justesse Ă  la mort, et brisĂ©e par la sĂ©rie tragĂ©dies qu’elle a subies, ne songe qu’à retrouver sa libertĂ© et sa famille. RĂ©cits marquĂ©s par la douleur et l’espoir, In Fragile Moments et The Last Time rĂ©vĂšlent deux destins trĂšs diffĂ©rents malgrĂ© des parallĂšles qui les rapprochent.

Préface de Louise Vasvari

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Zsuzsanna Fischer Spiro:
Hongrie
Ghetto
Camp de travaux forcés
Camp de la mort d’Auschwitz-Birkenau
Marche de la mort
RĂ©volution hongroise de 1956
Journal intime datant de la guerre
Immigration au Canada en 1957
Eva Shainblum:
Hongrie
Ghetto
Camp de travaux forcés
Camp de la mort d’Auschwitz-Birkenau
Marche de la mort
Immigration au Canada en 1948
Tranche d'ùge recommandée
14+
Langue
Anglais

176 pages

À propos de l'auteure

Photo of Zsuzsanna Fischer Spiro

Zsuzsanna Fischer est nĂ©e en 1925 Ă  TornyospĂĄlca (Hongrie). AprĂšs la guerre, elle a Ă©pousĂ© Joseph Spiro, survivant de l’Holocauste. Ils ont vĂ©cu Ă  Budapest avec leurs deux fils jusqu’à la RĂ©volution hongroise — un Ă©vĂ©nement relatĂ© par Zsuzsanna dans son journal — et ont immigrĂ© au Canada en 1957. Zsuzsanna Spiro est dĂ©cĂ©dĂ©e Ă  Toronto en 2016.

À propos de l'auteure

Photo of Eva Shainblum

Eva Shainblum est nĂ©e en 1927 Ă  NagyvĂĄrad en Hongrie (aujourd’hui en Roumanie). Elle a immigrĂ© au Canada en 1948 et s’est installĂ©e Ă  MontrĂ©al, oĂč elle a travaillĂ© en tant que libraire, s’est mariĂ©e et a fondĂ© une famille. Eva vit aujourd’hui Ă  MontrĂ©al.

Vanished Boyhood, George Stern

One month before George Stern’s thirteenth birthday, Germany invades his native Hungary. Anti-Jewish edicts are passed and a ghetto is established. A rebel even then, George refuses to wear the Jewish star. “Passing” as a Christian boy, he survives the siege of Budapest as the Soviet Red Army presses closer, strafing the city while the fascist Arrow Cross continues to hunt for Jews. After the war, George leaves Europe for Israel and fights in the War of Independence. Over the next twenty years his family’s journeys take them from Israel to São Paulo, Brazil and finally to Toronto. Filled with determination and bravery, this is also the poignant account of George Stern’s Vanished Boyhood.

Introduction by Susan Papp

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En bref
Hongrie
Ghetto
Fausse identité
Régime des Croix fléchées
SiĂšge de Budapest
IsraĂ«l d’aprĂšs-guerre; BrĂ©sil
Immigration au Canada en 1970
Tranche d'ùge recommandée
14+
Langue
Anglais

184 pages

À propos de l'auteur

Photo of George Stern

George Stern est nĂ© le 21 avril 1931 Ă  Újpest (Hongrie). AprĂšs la Seconde Guerre mondiale, il a Ă©migrĂ© en IsraĂ«l oĂč il a combattu pendant la Guerre d’indĂ©pendance. En 1960, lui et sa femme, Judit, ont quittĂ© IsraĂ«l pour SĂŁo Paulo (BrĂ©sil), puis ils ont immigrĂ© au Canada en 1970. George Stern est dĂ©cĂ©dĂ© en 2017.

Une jeunesse perdue, George Stern

George Stern va avoir 13 ans quand l’Allemagne envahit sa Hongrie natale. Des mesures antijuives sont mises en place. George refuse de porter l’étoile juive et se fait passer pour un jeune chrĂ©tien. Il survit au siĂšge de Budapest que l’armĂ©e soviĂ©tique bombarde tandis que les Croix flĂ©chĂ©es pourchassent les Juifs. AprĂšs la libĂ©ration, George part en IsraĂ«l et participe Ă  la guerre d’IndĂ©pendance. Par la suite, la famille s’installera au BrĂ©sil puis Ă  Toronto. Ces mĂ©moires retracent de maniĂšre poignante la Jeunesse perdue de George Stern.

Préface de Susan Papp

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En bref
Hongrie
Ghetto
Fausse identité
Régime des Croix fléchées
SiĂšge de Budapest
IsraĂ«l d’aprĂšs-guerre; BrĂ©sil
Immigration au Canada en 1970
Tranche d'ùge recommandée
14+
Langue
Français

200 pages

À propos de l'auteur

Photo of George Stern

George Stern est nĂ© le 21 avril 1931 Ă  Újpest (Hongrie). AprĂšs la Seconde Guerre mondiale, il a Ă©migrĂ© en IsraĂ«l oĂč il a combattu pendant la Guerre d’indĂ©pendance. En 1960, lui et sa femme, Judit, ont quittĂ© IsraĂ«l pour SĂŁo Paulo (BrĂ©sil), puis ils ont immigrĂ© au Canada en 1970. George Stern est dĂ©cĂ©dĂ© en 2017.

The Shadows Behind Me, Willie Sterner

For six desperate years, Willie Sterner’s skill as a painter saves him from death at the hands of the Nazis. Faced with inhumane conditions in slave labour camps, and grieving the brutal loss of his close-knit family of nine, Willie relies on his courage and ingenuity to hold onto his dignity. Showing how random luck could change the course toward almost certain death for Jews in the Holocaust, Willie finds himself transferred to Oskar Schindler’s Emalia factory, where he comes under the protection of the famed German businessman and becomes his personal art restorer. An unvarnished account of what he experienced and what he lost, The Shadows Behind Me also follows the story of Willie and Eva – the woman he meets on a death march – as they rebuild their lives and regain hope in Canada. Gripping and moving, this is a tribute to one man’s remarkable determination to survive.

Introduction by Hilary Earl

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Pologne
Ghetto de Cracovie
Camps de travaux forcés
Usine d’Oskar Schindler
Camp de concentration de Mauthausen
Camps de personnes dĂ©placĂ©es (Autriche d’aprĂšs-guerre)
Immigration au Canada en 1948
Adaptation Ă  la vie canadienne
Tranche d'ùge recommandée
16+
Langue
Anglais

256 pages

À propos de l'auteur

Photo of Willie Sterner

Willie Sterner est nĂ© le 15 septembre 1919 Ă  Wolbrom (Pologne). AĂźnĂ© d’une famille de sept enfants, il est le seul Ă  avoir survĂ©cu Ă  l’Holocauste. AprĂšs la guerre, il a vĂ©cu dans des camps de personnes dĂ©placĂ©es en Autriche, oĂč il est devenu chef de la police juive. Willie et sa femme, Eva, ont immigrĂ© au Canada en 1948 et se sont installĂ©s Ă  MontrĂ©al. Willie Sterner est dĂ©cĂ©dĂ© en 2011.

Les Ombres du passé, Willie Sterner

Pendant six annĂ©es, le talent de peintre de Willie Sterner parvient Ă  le sauver de la mort aux mains des nazis. Willie doit faire face Ă  des conditions inhumaines dans un camp de travaux forcĂ©s, ainsi qu’à la mort brutale de sa famille proche. Le sort a voulu qu'il soit transfĂ©rĂ© Ă  Emalia, l’entreprise d’Oskar Schindler qui le protĂšge et fait de lui son restaurateur d’art personnel. Les Ombres du passĂ© relate aussi le parcours de Willie et d’Eva, sa femme, qui refont leur vie au Canada. Ce rĂ©cit captivant tĂ©moigne de la dĂ©termination remarquable dont Willie Sterner a fait preuve pour survivre.

Préface de Hilary Earl

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En bref
Pologne
Ghetto de Cracovie
Camps de travaux forcés
Usine d’Oskar Schindler
Camp de concentration de Mauthausen
Camps de personnes dĂ©placĂ©es (Autriche d’aprĂšs-guerre)
Immigration au Canada en 1948
Adaptation Ă  la vie canadienne
Tranche d'ùge recommandée
16+
Langue
Français

256 pages

À propos de l'auteur

Photo of Willie Sterner

Willie Sterner est nĂ© le 15 septembre 1919 Ă  Wolbrom (Pologne). AĂźnĂ© d’une famille de sept enfants, il est le seul Ă  avoir survĂ©cu Ă  l’Holocauste. AprĂšs la guerre, il a vĂ©cu dans des camps de personnes dĂ©placĂ©es en Autriche, oĂč il est devenu chef de la police juive. Willie et sa femme, Eva, ont immigrĂ© au Canada en 1948 et se sont installĂ©s Ă  MontrĂ©al. Willie Sterner est dĂ©cĂ©dĂ© en 2011.

Album of My Life, Ann Szedlecki

Ann Szedlecki was a Hollywood-film-loving fourteen-year-old when the Nazis invaded Poland in 1939. Fleeing to the Soviet Union with her brother, she spent the next six years in a remote Siberian outpost, enduring loneliness, hunger and forced labour, but also savouring moments of warmth and friendship. Tender, tragic and also engagingly funny, Ann lovingly reconstructs her pre-war childhood in Lodz and offers a compelling and complex portrait of survival in the USSR and of the diversity of survivor experiences during the Nazi genocide. The reader is drawn to young Ann’s fierce determination, humour and decency as we accompany her on her coming-of-age journey without family and living largely by her wits. Full of rich detail and poignant observation, this is a beautiful rendering of the vicissitudes of one woman’s life in relation to the large-scale historical events that helped shape its course.

Introduction by Naomi Azrieli

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Pologne; Union soviétique
Fuite
Camps de travaux forcés (Sibérie)
Immigration au Canada en 1953
Tranche d'ùge recommandée
14+
Langue
Anglais

240 pages

MĂ©daille d’or dĂ©cernĂ©e lors des Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards en 2009

À propos de l'auteure

Photo of Ann Szedlecki

Ann Szedlecki (nĂ©e Chana Frajlich) a vu le jour Ă  Lodz (Pologne) en 1925. Au retour de la guerre, elle a dĂ©couvert que tous les membres de sa famille avaient pĂ©ri. En 1950, elle s’est mariĂ©e et s’est installĂ©e en IsraĂ«l, puis en 1953, elle a immigrĂ© Ă  Toronto. Ann Szedlecki est dĂ©cĂ©dĂ©e en 2005.

L’Album de ma vie, Ann Szedlecki

Ann Szedlecki adorait les films hollywoodiens. ÂgĂ©e de quatorze ans lorsque les nazis ont envahi la Pologne, elle a fui en Union soviĂ©tique avec son frĂšre et passĂ© six annĂ©es en SibĂ©rie, affrontant la solitude, la faim, le travail forcĂ©, mais apprĂ©ciant aussi des moments de chaleur humaine et d’amitiĂ©. Dans ses mĂ©moires, empreints de sensibilitĂ©, de tristesse, mais aussi d’humour, Ann reconstruit avec tendresse son enfance dans le Lodz d’avant-guerre et nous offre une description fascinante et complexe de sa survie en URSS. Le lecteur est touchĂ© par sa dĂ©termination et sa pudeur. Riches en dĂ©tails et en observations Ă©mouvantes, ses mĂ©moires rendent de belle maniĂšre les vicissitudes de la vie d’une jeune femme aux prises avec des Ă©vĂ©nements historiques majeurs.

Préface de Naomi Azrieli

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En bref
Pologne; Union soviétique
Fuite
Camps de travaux forcés (Sibérie)
Immigration au Canada en 1953
Tranche d'ùge recommandée
14+
Langue
Français

288 pages

MĂ©daille d’or dĂ©cernĂ©e lors des Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards en 2009

À propos de l'auteure

Photo of Ann Szedlecki

Ann Szedlecki (nĂ©e Chana Frajlich) a vu le jour Ă  Lodz (Pologne) en 1925. Au retour de la guerre, elle a dĂ©couvert que tous les membres de sa famille avaient pĂ©ri. En 1950, elle s’est mariĂ©e et s’est installĂ©e en IsraĂ«l, puis en 1953, elle a immigrĂ© Ă  Toronto. Ann Szedlecki est dĂ©cĂ©dĂ©e en 2005.

Memories from the Abyss/But I Had A Happy Childhood, William Tannenzapf, Renate Krakauer

Strong, savvy and intelligent, William Tannenzapf never wavers in his determination to survive and save his wife and baby girl from the clutches of evil gripping his hometown of StanisƂawów. Blond, blue-eyed and cherubic, Renate Krakauer was a “miracle baby” born as the world descended into war and soon surrounded by misery and death. Starving and enslaved, Tannenzapf entrusts his daughter to a Polish family so that little Renate can live in “childhood oblivion” – yet still under the eyes of her loving parents. Later reunited and thrown into the trials of refugee and immigrant life, Krakauer’s thoughtful observations provide fascinating insight into the perceptions and feelings of a child survivor and offer a poignant counterpoint to Tannenzapf’s adult reflections on the same events. This gripping volume offers the reader the rare opportunity to read survival stories from two members of the same family.

Introduction by Michael Brown

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Commander le livre

– +
En bref
William Tannenzapf :
Pologne
Travaux forcés
Clandestinité
Camp de personnes dĂ©placĂ©es (Allemagne d’aprĂšs-guerre)
Immigration au Canada en 1948
Renate Krakauer :
Pologne
Enfant en clandestinité
Camp de personnes dĂ©placĂ©es (Allemagne d’aprĂšs-guerre)
Immigration au Canada en 1948
Adaptation Ă  la vie canadienne
Tranche d'ùge recommandée
12+ , 14+
Langue
Anglais

176 pages

À propos de l'auteur

Photo of William Tannenzapf

William Tannenzapf est nĂ© en 1911 Ă  StanisƂawĂłw (Pologne, aujourd’hui Ivano-Frankivsk en Ukraine), et sa fille, Renate, a vu le jour en mars 1941 dans la mĂȘme ville, alors sous occupation nazie. La famille a immigrĂ© en 1948 au Canada, pour s’établir Ă  MontrĂ©al puis Ă  Toronto. William a travaillĂ© chez Westinghouse Electric, Ă  Hamilton en Ontario, oĂč il a menĂ© une brillante carriĂšre d'ingĂ©nieur Ă©lectricien, mettant notamment au point de nouvelles technologies pour lesquelles il a obtenu plusieurs brevets. William Tannenzapf est dĂ©cĂ©dĂ© en 2011. Renate Krakauer s'est Ă©tablie Ă  Toronto, oĂč elle a travaillĂ© successivement dans le secteur pharmaceutique, l'Ă©ducation pour adultes et les ressources humaines. Elle a Ă©crit et publiĂ© un livre, ainsi que plusieurs nouvelles et essais.

À propos de l'auteure

Photo of Renate Krakauer

Renate Krakauer est nĂ©e en 1941 Ă  StanisƂawĂłw en Pologne (aujourd’hui Ivano-Frankivsk en Ukraine). En 1948, Renate et les siens ont immigrĂ© Ă  Toronto oĂč elle a obtenu un maĂźtrise ainsi qu’un doctorat, et exercĂ© diverses professions. Renate a rĂ©digĂ© et publiĂ© un livre, ainsi que plusieurs essais et nouvelles. Elle vit Ă  Toronto.

Souvenirs de l’abüme/Le Bonheur de l’innocence, William Tannenzapf, Renate Krakauer

William Tannenzapf est dĂ©terminĂ© Ă  survivre et Ă  sauver sa femme et leur bĂ©bĂ© des griffes des nazis. Renate, le « bĂ©bĂ© miraculĂ© », est nĂ©e alors que le monde sombrait dans la guerre. AffamĂ©, rĂ©duit en esclavage, il confie sa fille Ă  une famille polonaise pour qu’elle vive dans l’« innocence de l’enfance ». Plus tard, parents et enfant sont rĂ©unis et jetĂ©s dans les tourments de la vie de rĂ©fugiĂ©s puis d’immigrĂ©s dont Renate Krakauer offre un aperçu fascinant de son point de vue d’enfant survivant. Ses descriptions sont un contrepoint Ă©mouvant aux rĂ©flexions d’adulte de son pĂšre sur les mĂȘmes Ă©vĂ©nements. Cet ouvrage offre ainsi au lecteur l’opportunitĂ© rare de lire les rĂ©cits de survie de deux membres d’une mĂȘme famille.

Préface de Michael Brown

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Commander le livre

– +
En bref
William Tannenzapf :
Pologne
Travaux forcés
Clandestinité
Camp de personnes dĂ©placĂ©es (Allemagne d’aprĂšs-guerre)
Immigration au Canada en 1948
Renate Krakauer :
Pologne
Enfant en clandestinité
Camp de personnes dĂ©placĂ©es (Allemagne d’aprĂšs-guerre)
Immigration au Canada en 1948
Adaptation Ă  la vie canadienne
Tranche d'ùge recommandée
12+ , 14+
Langue
Français

192 pages

À propos de l'auteur

Photo of William Tannenzapf

William Tannenzapf est nĂ© en 1911 Ă  StanisƂawĂłw (Pologne, aujourd’hui Ivano-Frankivsk en Ukraine), et sa fille, Renate, a vu le jour en mars 1941 dans la mĂȘme ville, alors sous occupation nazie. La famille a immigrĂ© en 1948 au Canada, pour s’établir Ă  MontrĂ©al puis Ă  Toronto. William a travaillĂ© chez Westinghouse Electric, Ă  Hamilton en Ontario, oĂč il a menĂ© une brillante carriĂšre d'ingĂ©nieur Ă©lectricien, mettant notamment au point de nouvelles technologies pour lesquelles il a obtenu plusieurs brevets. William Tannenzapf est dĂ©cĂ©dĂ© en 2011. Renate Krakauer s'est Ă©tablie Ă  Toronto, oĂč elle a travaillĂ© successivement dans le secteur pharmaceutique, l'Ă©ducation pour adultes et les ressources humaines. Elle a Ă©crit et publiĂ© un livre, ainsi que plusieurs nouvelles et essais.

À propos de l'auteure

Photo of Renate Krakauer

Renate Krakauer est nĂ©e en 1941 Ă  StanisƂawĂłw en Pologne (aujourd’hui Ivano-Frankivsk en Ukraine). En 1948, Renate et les siens ont immigrĂ© Ă  Toronto oĂč elle a obtenu un maĂźtrise ainsi qu’un doctorat, et exercĂ© diverses professions. Renate a rĂ©digĂ© et publiĂ© un livre, ainsi que plusieurs essais et nouvelles. Elle vit Ă  Toronto.

If Only It Were Fiction, Elsa Thon

Strong-willed and ambitious, sixteen-year-old Elsa Thon is working as a photographer’s apprentice when the Nazis occupy her town of Pruszków, Poland, in 1939. Every ounce of her will and ingenuity is called into play as she moves from ghetto to ghetto, throws in her lot with a Zionist youth group and is recruited by the Jewish underground. Despite her deep belief that destiny is determining her fate, Elsa faces every fraught situation with self-possession and maturity. A vivid and beautifully written coming-of-age story, If Only It Were Fiction is enriched by Elsa’s family tradition of storytelling and her unerring eye for detail.

Introduction by Sylvia Vance

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Commander le livre

– +
En bref
Pologne
Ghettos de Varsovie et de Cracovie
RĂ©sistance
Fausse identité
Camps de travaux forcés
IsraĂ«l d’aprĂšs-guerre; Argentine
Immigration au Canada en 1980
Tranche d'ùge recommandée
16+
Langue
Anglais

304 pages

À propos de l'auteure

Photo of Elsa Thon

Elsa Thon est nĂ©e en 1923 Ă  PruszkĂłw (Pologne). AprĂšs la guerre, elle a Ă©pousĂ© Mayer Thon avec qui elle s’est installĂ©e en IsraĂ«l en 1948. Ils ont immigrĂ© en Argentine en 1955, oĂč Elsa a travaillĂ© dans un studio de photographie et a Ă©levĂ© ses enfants. En 1980, Elsa et Mayer se sont Ă©tablis Ă  Toronto pour se rapprocher de leur famille. Les mĂ©moires d'Elsa ont Ă©galement Ă©tĂ© publiĂ©s en espagnol et en polonais. Elsa Thon est dĂ©cĂ©dĂ©e en 2019.

Consulter sur Re:Collection

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